Serious Eats: Recipes

A Decadent Eggnog From a Junior League Cookbook

[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]

Eggnog may be second only to fruitcake as a holiday punchline. And why not? It comes up most often as an explanation for otherwise inexplicable behavior at office parties, and the pre-made version in most grocery stores resembles an opaque, insipid quart of 10W-30 motor oil. For the first 30 or so years of my life, I never gave much eggnog much thought. Then, thanks to a lucky day at Myopic Books, the Gourmet's Guide to New Orleans came into my life. The name is misleading—it is, in fact, a Junior League cookbook. Charleston Receipts is probably the most famous Junior League cookbook, but as a rule, they are worth keeping an eye out for when you trawl the cookbook section at your favorite used book store. My copy is the 13th edition, from 1955, but I don't know when the eggnog recipe became part of the collection. After I read the recipe, I knew immediately I had to make it:

You'll notice a complete absence of any redeeming ingredient. There is a perverse genius in presenting this concoction as something that adults might make and serve to one another. So I made it. It became a holiday party staple. Nobody asks for it at Labor Day, but about once a year, it has its place.

As you approach the end of the gauntlet of holiday parties, I urge you to make this recipe. I would offer a few notes on Mrs. Steven Pierre Cottreaux' recipe:

About the author: The Gurgling Cod, aka 'Fesser, writes The Gurgling Cod, a blog that is primarily concerned with food. | Photograph from

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