George Washington's Christmas Eggnog

Enjoy this Colonial Holiday Drink!

December 10, 2019
George Washington

Here’s a recipe for Christmas Eggnog from our first president, in the exact words as they were written by George Washington himself. Our favorite instruction is the last one: “Taste Frequently.”

This was one of Washington’s favorite concoctions for celebrating Christmas at Mount Vernon in Virginia. (Get ready. It will knock your socks off!)

George Washington’s Christmas Eggnog Recipe

“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.”

Need a Christmas cake to wash that down? Here’s Martha Washington’s “Great Cake” recipe in the exact words in which it was written. It was baked for celebrating what she called “a true Virginia Christmas” at Mount Vernon.

Learn More

Prefer a non-alcoholic eggnog? Here’s a recipe for Non-Alcoholic Eggnog

Check out our entire collection of Christmas recipes.


Reader Comments

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GW Egg Nog Liquor

After converting the liquor ingredients to smaller measures in the same proportion, I made a small batch to try. I then mixed the liquor with my favorite store-bought brand of egg nog and it was delicious. The mix of flavors is more complex than the standard Virgin Islands rum flavor found in most commercial egg nogs. My wife and I agreed that a small amount of the liquor enhanced the egg nog but more gave it a very boozy flavor, so start with less and add more to your liking. I will keep a bottle of "George Washington Egg Nog Liquor" on hand. Two thoughts on the liquors: (1) use a dry or semi-sweet sherry, not cream sherry and (2) use a gold or amber Jamaican rum rather than a heavy dark Jamaican rum that will overpower the other flavors. This recipe is a keeper!

egg size

I just wonder silly as it may sound. I always buy jumbo eggs and will that effect the recipe in any way if I use as requested the amounts as set forth?

George Washington's eggnog

Since it's annoying to laboriously measure out one after the other twelve tablespoons of sugar, simply measure out 3/4ths of a cup of sugar.


This sounds amazing! I figured out the egg part as I read the directions but it doesn't say how many tablespoons of sugar.

Egg Nog Directions

I believe the first line of the recipe states, " dozen tablespoons sugar, ..." which is 12 tablespoons.


I thought that was for the eggs and was a typo.

Very tasty

I made this recipe this evening and it was delicious.

GW eggnog

interesting recipe; I also love the 'taste frequently' part ") I quote the recipe "then separate yolks and whites of 12 eggs" to those who were unsure how many eggs were used.

George Washington's eggnog.

I made this yesterday. Today it tastes a lot like Irish cream. It is not very sweet. I added some corn syrup after tasting it. I would recommend more sugar added to the egg yoaks. It made about a gallon. I sprinkled it with nutmeg before serving. FYI it tastes nothing like commercial eggnog. It's pretty good. I think it might be a new holiday tradition!

try a dozen

other people who have tested say to use 12 eggs

The mixture is approximatly 2

The mixture is approximatly 2 parts mixer to one part liquor. That is not all that strong. I would probably leave out the sherry.

depends on the proof

If you use high proof it can be. Im not sure what the max proof you can get sherry in is. But you can get whiskey, rum, and brandy in 100 proof at least.

Several foodie sites list

Several foodie sites list this recipe and they all claim it calls for a dozen eggs.

sounds great but it doesn't

sounds great but it doesn't say HOW MANY EGGS, just to separate the yolks from the whites.....

My favorite instruction is

My favorite instruction is the last one. "Taste Frequently."

yup! that was my favorite

yup! that was my favorite ;-)

Yup, It kinda reminds me of

Yup, It kinda reminds me of the Chicago voting style...Vote early and vote often. However, in this case it is taste early and taste often....yum,

There was no or at least

There was no or at least limited cooling areas back then, (no refrigerators or freezers) The alcohol kept the ingredients, which included eggs, from becoming rancid and causing food poisoning.

18th Century Cooling

There were no refrigerators or freezers, but they did have ice houses. Also, this being a Christmas recipe for someone living in the Virginia area, items could be kept cool just by leaving them outside or in a creek or cellar. Don't trust the alcohol to keep it from spoiling at modern day room temperatures.

Sounds very satisfying will

Sounds very satisfying will try later

I hope you have a "designated

I hope you have a "designated driver" when you leave the home where this is served!

As a historian I have been amazed at the quantity of spirits used in our early forebearers recipes - especially since most were abstainers or drank "carefully". True, the alcohol burns off, but not in eggnog! Christmas parties at Mt. Vernone, Gunstan Hall, Montecello, Montpelier, etc. must have been ... interesting!

Nobody says you have have

Nobody says you have have drink all of it. A cup is the same as any other cup of 3-liquor cocktail. You wouldn't necessarily comment on a 3-shot cocktail with wide-eyed disbelief, right? Long island iced tea is 5 liquors, all equal parts, but if you made it with quart measures and had over a gallon of tea, you wouldn't assume drinking all of it, don't be silly.

Nobody says... Really?

Good thing you saw this post so you could pick at the other persons comment and belittle them.
I don't think the persons comment was silly but I do think your answer was rude and uncalled for.

I want to take some closer

I want to take some closer examine some of the memorabilia!

That is amazing. As I sip on

That is amazing. As I sip on my own glass of eggnog I feel very connected to all the generations that came before...