"Dr. Johnson said: 'Whilst you stand deliberating which book your son shall read first, another boy has read both: read anything five hours a day, and you will soon be learned.'"

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Books"
Eggnog

In a journal on his three months in the States, printed in 1867, Henry Latham wrote about celebrating Christmas in the Baltimore countryside:

Christmas festivities had begun ; every ten minutes or oftener a gun or a squib was fired off, giving one the idea that the war had not ended yet at Ellicott's Mills. Christmas is not properly observed unless you brew "egg-nog" for all comers; everybody calls upon everybody else; and each call is celebrated by a solemn egg-nogging. Egg-nog is made in this wise: our egg-nog was made so, and was decided after a good deal of nogging around, to be the brew in Ellicott's Mills: "Beat up the yolks of twelve eggs with powdered sugar, then beat up with them a pint of brandy, a quart of cream, and a quart of milk; lastly beat up the whites of your twelve eggs, and add them as a head and crown to your syllabub." It is made cold, and is drunk cold, and is to be commended. We had brought a store of sugar-plums, as the children all expect presents at this time. They hang up their stockings on Christmas Eve, and in the morning find them filled with goodies. At New York this is done by Criskindle (Christ kinde) and at Baltimore by Santa Claus (San Nicolas).
I always enjoyed eggnog this time of year, but of course, I never make my own, and I doubt it could be called "nogging" even if I drank a whole quart myself. I prefer to buy the Southern Comfort brand. The flavor and thickness of this brand appeals to me most. Mayfield, which I believe is a great diary brand primarily in my region, has good flavor but it's too thin. Borden tastes bad, and I don't remember the others we rejected. Hood has some flavored eggnogs in my area, and they taste good, just not as good as Southern Comfort (which is non-alcoholic if you need to ask--do they sell alcoholic eggnog in grocery stores?).

I haven't tasted the benefits of mixing my nog with brandy, though I've done that a few times. I see that George Washington had his own recipe which used rye whiskey, rum and sherry--a stout drink of the stout-hearted. I couldn't handle it.

Do you like eggnog? Do you prefer one brand over another, or do you have a homemade recipe?

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Comments on "Eggnog":
1. Lars Walker - 12/06/2008 4:50 pm EST

It's not traditional in our subculture, but I've had some a few times. I don't know if I've had the "proper" hard stuff ever. I like it OK, but I don't have any traditional associations connected to it.

2. omie - 12/06/2008 5:24 pm EST

Mayfield is my brand. My SIL and I are the only ones in the family that like/love it. O shucks! Too bad. heh heh.

3. Endnotes - 12/07/2008 1:27 pm EST

I do like eggnog.
My sister's mother-in-law has a fantastic recipe that she makes every Christmas Eve.

I don't know that I have had a commercial brand in recent years.

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