The Dark Side of Eggnog

 If you are looking for ZAM’s progressive dinner stop, you need to visit this posting. But feel free to stay and read about eggnog while you’re here. Happy New Year!


eggnog-calories-400x400As some of you know, I love eggnog. I love other eggnog-flavored things too, like the eggnog latte at Starbucks or even eggnog-scented soap.

But it’s not all fun and games as you will discover. Keep reading for two shocking tales of eggnog gone wrong.

My Tale, from the Eggnog Dairies….

Every year I anxiously await the first appearance of eggnog in the grocery store. I’ve tried pretty much every brand and it’s tough to balance the right creamy texture with a pleasing blend of spices. The really creamy ones have too much nutmeg for me, while the ones with the best balance of spice are never creamy enough. To be honest, I haven’t found a perfect eggnog yet.

I take that back. The best eggnog I ever had was at a White House holiday party. This is the first tale about the Dark Side of Eggnog.

If you happened to read my bio you may recall I spent a year as a White House Staff Economist. One of the perks of the job was an invitation to the White House Christmas Party. It happens there are actually several parties, only a few of which feature the actual president. Those were reserved for people a level above my job, but my co-workers and I still got to party inside the White House for several hours one cold late-December evening.

Thinking this was pretty freaking cool, I invited a guy I was trying to impress as my plus one. He worked for Democratic Senator Harkin from Iowa and had been in DC for a few years, though never to a White House party. Thus, he was suitably impressed with the invitation (and me).

They decorate the public areas of the White House every year, and if you happen to go on the tour during the holiday season, you’ll find most rooms have the holiday touch. During public tours, you’ll be ushered through at a pretty quick pace, pausing for the guide to impart some historical tidbit about the chairs or something on the wall. At the official Christmas party, they let us loose with no restrictions. This alone was wonderful and certainly made my guest feel special.

But the best part: the whole shindig is catered by the White House Mess. No, it’s not the state of the country, but what they call the kitchen, which is run military-style, though no GI got food like this. And the crowning glory of the whole thing:

White. House. Eggnog.

You need to wait on a line at the serving table, and then they dole it out in tiny little cups, for which there is a very, very good reason. Unfortunately, no one told me. I happen to love eggnog. A. Lot. I enjoyed the first serving so much I went back for more. After the second I couldn’t feel my face. After the third…well I honestly don’t recall the rest of the party. I do remember sitting in a restaurant around the corner from the White House with a group of my co-workers some hours later. This is the point they mentioned that the White House Eggnog packs a real wallop. Well, duh.

I don’t think I had another date with that guy. If I did, I can’t remember.

The Second Tale, the Eggnog Riot at West Point, 1826

Would it surprise you that back in the early nineteenth century soldiers received a daily ration of booze? Or that even at West Point, the cadets also received a tot of rum each day? It surprised me! What didn’t surprise me was that when the newly appointed commander of West Point decided to halt the free happy hour at Christmas, the cadets went wild. They made the Boston Tea Party look like, well, a tea party.


It had been tradition at West Point for the cadets to make some pretty deadly eggnog at Christmas, so the no alcohol rules really upset the apple cart. In open defiance, cadets smuggled in alcohol, made their own eggnog and made sure to drink all the evidence.

Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee were both cadets at the time, and participated in the revelry.

This might have just been the best secret party on campus, except that they made so much noise they awakened two officers who tried to put a stop to the party. A few cadets armed themselves, then an unruly group of about 70 drunken cadets proceeded to destroy one of the barracks, attack the two officers, and basically run amok.

As we all suspected, guns and eggnog do not mix.

In the end about twenty cadets were suspended, and 11 of them expelled.

We all know how Jeff Davis and Robert E. Lee turned out.

The barracks was rebuilt and future buildings were constructed with a design allowing easier “crowd control.”

So, the moral of this tale is pretty much the same as my own: one or two tiny cups is plenty.

If you dare, here’s the recipe for the White House Eggnogg


White House Eggnog


(This recipe appeared in the White House Holiday Recipes in 1996. It was devised by White House Executive Chef Walter Scheiber.)


5 yolks

5 whites

1 1/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup bourbon

3/4 cup cognac

3/4 cup dark rum

1 quart heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon salt


vanilla extract

milk to taste


Combine yolks and sugar in bowl and beat to ribbon stage. Add bourbon, rum and cognac to yolk mix — set aside. Whip egg whites and salt to stiff peaks. Whip cream to medium peaks. Fold whipped whites and cream together. Combine white/cream mix to yolk/liquor mix. Mix well. Add nutmeg and vanilla to taste. Adjust thickness with milk to desired consistency. Store very cold; blend well before serving.

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28 Responses to “The Dark Side of Eggnog”

  1. krblake says:

    Wow! That eggnog sounds lethal, but I copied the recipe. I love eggnog, too, but won’t drink it if I’ve got a cold, and I got a bad one this year. Sigh. I really miss my eggnog. May have to celebrate the holidays again later in January so I can try out the recipe. Great article.

  2. Antonia says:

    I can see why you didn’t remember much of the party after that! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ardent Ereader says:

    I have tried eggnog in ages ever since I discovered how many calories it can contain. I may have to try your recipe though. ardent(dot)ereader(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Mary M. says:

    I do not do the nog, but I love your stories! Happy New Year!

    emmasmom69 AT gmail DOT com

  5. Marcine says:

    Main dish and a dessert. You are busy with this dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. cmucha319 says:

    This is one holiday tradition I will pass up. I just can’t drink eggs…ick!!! I will stick with my hot rum spiced cider instead.

    cmucha319 AT yahoo DOT com

  7. Denise Dechene says:

    Love eggnog but usually it is so thick it’s hard to drink alone. My husband asked me to copy the recipe down so I think we’ll be drinking some in the future. Thanks for the stories and for the recipe. Hope you have a Happy New Year.

  8. Lee Todd says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever had eggnog….I know, my life is incomplete!


  9. Christy Duke says:

    Looks yummy! You’re my last stop!!!!

  10. kissedbymidnigh says:

    Sounds strong!:) I do like eggnog. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  11. Barbra says:

    I’m a fan of eggnog too. I always say it’s a good thing they only sell it for a few months a year because I’d probably double my weight if it was available year round. I really enjoyed the blog too. Thanks. 🙂

  12. DebraG says:

    Sounds intriguing. I shall try it.
    debby236 at gmail dot com and hotmail

  13. bn100 says:

    interesting recipe

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  14. Jen CW says:

    I’ve never made eggnog from scratch. It could be lots of fun. Thanks EM!

  15. Jbst says:

    I love egg nog. I can see why you wanted more than one cup since the egg nog was home made.
    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

  16. I like eggnog, but not so much with booze in it (I can always taste it & I don’t like creamy booze). but still…

    tracykitn AT yahoo DOT com

  17. Heather Rawlins says:

    I love eggnog, in fact, I bought a bit more today, just to make Christmas last a little longer. I am so going to try the White House version. Happy New Year

  18. dusty273 says:

    I love eggnog and will have to try this one out! Thanks!

  19. Tamika says:

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve been trying different recipes for my own kind never used bourbon I don’t think I’ll try this out.


  20. I’ve made it through the whole New Year’s Eve dinner and only had to wipe a little bit of drool off my chin. I rarely indulge in eggnog but this looks almost too good to pass up.

  21. alishead says:

    I love egg nogg too. But I’ve never had any with alcohol. (Unless you count the sip I accidentally took of my mom’s rum spiked cup in my early teens – I didn’t like it.)

  22. Jillian T says:

    Wow! I would love to attend a White House Christmas Party.

  23. Juliana says:

    Haha, fun story! I don’t ever drink egg nog, but I do drink Coquito, which is sort of the Puerto Rican equivalent!
    Thanks for sharing!
    OceanAkers @


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