Beware of Egg-Nog: An 1817 Warning

I am not claiming that egg-nog originated in New Hampshire.  It probably was first made in ye olde England as a mixture of Spanish “Sherry” and milk.

Though our weather is outlandishly warm, there are a few who have the holidays on their mind. (I myself am waiting for the inevitable “cold snap” to get into the mood).

The New England colonists preferred rum to sherry. In colonial America, rum was commonly called “grog“, so the name eggnog is likely derived from the very descriptive term for this drink, “egg-and-grog”, which corrupted to egg’n’grog and soon to eggnog.

Our first President, George Washington, was quite a fan of eggnog and he concocted his own recipe. His version included one quart of cream, one quart of milk, a dozen eggs, one pint of brandy, a half pint of rye (whiskey), a quarter pint of rum, and a quarter pint of sherry. WOW! I bet this made the Washington homestead popular during the holidays.

An 1815 article in the Newburyport Herald reports that eggnog “is a liquor with which the Americans used to treat their friends on Christmas Day.” (so apparently it was already a tradition in the United States by this time).  Several old New Hampshire newspaper articles indicate that egg-nog was served “hot.”

There are countless recipes for eggnog, but I think some of the most interesting can be found hereDo you have a favorite eggnog recipe?

Not everyone promoted the benefits of eggnog, and some even thought it is the work of the devil? Really 😀


The poem below if from the The American Beacon, Norfolk, December 24, 1817 [and reprinted in New Hampshire newspapers during the same year]
A Song of the Season, To be sung to any tune that suits the measure.

While the little boys cry ‘merry Christmas is coming,’
Shall I be as dull as a water-drunk log?
No! I’ll sing you a song (for we bards must be humming)
And the burden shall still be, Beware of Egg-nog.

When the bowl mantles over the elegant foam,
And the steam rises up in a silvery tog;
Put by the potation, keep Reason at home,
And think of my warning, Beware of Egg-nog.

When Circe, the witch, caught Ulysses’s men,
She gave each a dram that soon made him a hog;
The identical mixture–’tis now as ’twas then;
So attend to the moral, Beware of Egg-nog.

When the circle is form’d, the glass passes round,
Old Satan draws night, tho’, as usual, incog.,
And chuckles to see good Sobriety drown’d–
Would you frustrate his malice–Beware of Egg-nog.

But why do I rail at one liquor this way?
Is no other as fatal; rum, brandy, or grog?
Yes, yes, they’re all one, I mean all when I say,
And I’ll say but once more now, Beware of Egg-nog.

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