When the Normans conquered England, they introduced the open hearth for cooking and heating.
At each corner of the hearth was a large container for heating liquids.
It was called a “hob.”
Near the fire was a table where the hob was placed for convenient serving.
They called this table a “nob.”
When friends gathered by the warmth of the fire, they drank warm beer from the hob, which was served on the nob, and so they called it “hobnobbing.”
Today, the word hobnobbing means to associate on very friendly terms, which in most cases is also the same as the archaic use of the word, to drink together.