President. Patriot. Cocktail connoisseur.
At the time of his death, George Washington was the largest distiller of spirits in America. He had recently approved the construction of a large, 75 x 30 ft. distillery that would produce 11,000 gallons of whiskey a year. With so much alcohol being passed around Mount Vernon, it’s no wonder George Washington couldn’t tell a lie.
Many of his original, hand-written drink recipes, for various types of spirits, have survived until present day, but in the sprit of the season, here is a look at his favorite recipe when celebrating Christmas at Mount Vernon.
Washington’s eggnog recipe in his own words:
“One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, 1/4 pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.”
Washington forgot to record the exact number of eggs, but based on other ingredient counts, cooks of his era estimated he probably used a dozen. Also, though not specified, the only type of milk at the time would have been whole milk.
Most historians agree eggnog originated from a hot, milky ale drink known as “posset” popular in medieval Britain. During the 13th century, monks improvised and drank posset with eggs and figs. Since milk, eggs and sherry—ingredients needed to make the beverage—were foods more common among the wealthy, the drink became synonymous with prosperity and good health.
If the holidays are all about tradition, what could be more traditional than toasting to good cheer with our Founding Father’s 200 year old recipe for Christmas eggnog?