THE REAL DEAL: GEORGE WASHINGTON’S EGGNOG
Even America’s first president had a penchant for velvety eggnog at Christmas time — and an eggnog with a kick in it, that’s for sure. What follows is said to be George Washington’s original recipe for the libation, penned out by the man himself some time after 1789. Our source is the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and here is the how-to:
“One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, ½ pint rye whiskey, ½ pint Jamaica rum, ¼ pint sherry — mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of 12 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.”
Those who have made this eggnog report that it is indeed a drink to be reckoned with; some wish it was sweeter, some don’t favor the sherry — but all agree it gave them a unique connection to historic Christmas past. Interesting to note that Mount Vernon, home to Washington and his family for 45 years, sells rye whiskey distilled on the estate using the president’s own recipe.
With Christmas morning breakfast looming, let us also consider Washington’s version of cornbread. Here’s another how-to, courtesy of Mount Vernon.
Ingredients: 3/4 cup cornmeal (yellow or white), 1/3 cup sugar, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons melted butter, margarine or oil; 1 cup flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 cup milk; 1 egg, well beaten.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl: cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, egg and shortening. Mix together. Pour into a greased, shallow baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve warm with butter, honey or jam.
George Washington favored Christmas eggnog with quite a kick, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.