That’s Using Your Noggin

Dec 25, 2017


I don’t think too many people know about the “Eggnog Riot” of 1826 that took place at the US Military Academy, West Point. Two hundred and sixty cadets smuggled gallons of whiskey onto the dry campus. After drinking more than their share off “spirited” eggnog they wrecked the place and almost shot one of the professors. Twenty cadets were court-martialed. Luckily Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee that were in attendance escaped expulsion.

We know eggnog as something we drink after Thanksgiving through the Christmas holiday. When alcohol is added to it it’s called Milk Punch or Egg Milk Punch. I just call it Egg Nog because I can’t imagine drinking it without a little “holiday cheer” mixed in. There are several theories on where the name comes from but the one that makes the most sense to me is the Middle English word “noggin” which was used to refer to a small wooden mug shaped like a head and sometimes had a face on it. The idea being that when you drank the egg and milk mixture with spirits it “went to your head”.


In the American South eggnog is traditionally made with Bourbon. The rest of the US commonly uses Bourbon or brandy. Michter’s, High West, Four Roses Bourbons and any of the Gallo brandies or Suau brandy from Spain make an excellent choice for mixing.

In Puerto Rico they make “Coquito” and in Mexico they drink “Rompope”. Both are egg nog like drinks using rum as the spirit. Rums like Brinley Gold Spiced, Ron Abuelo Anejo, and Angostura 5 year have the right flavor profile and are a perfect price point to make a great nog.

In Peru they call their nog “Biblia con Pisco” made with, you guessed it, Pisco!  Some Piscos like Encanto have flavors of orange blossom, peach, and almond making them a perfect pairing with a cream based drink.


The British traditionally use brandy and many of Britain’s Upper Crust will stand for nothing less than France’s best Cognacs. If you want to take it to the next level then Cognacs like Camus VS or Merlet will add richness and depth.

Obviously eggnog is very versatile so find what works best for you. Everyone’s palate is different so there are very few wrong answers. George Washington had a hard time deciding which spirit to use so he served his guests a mixture of egg nog, rye whiskey AND rum! Happy Holidays. Cheers!


Contributed by Brandon Bartlett, Director of Spirits


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