Eggnog (Edgar Allan Poe)

UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1800: Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 American writer. (Photo by Universal History Archive/Getty Images)
  • Base Spirit Brandy
  • Preparation The Rest
  • Flavor Christmas
  • Served Cold

Many literary scholars regard Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Murders in Rue Morgue‘ to be the first Western detective story. However, not too many clues are required to understand Poe’s affinity for alcohol. Although, the dark wordsmith slowed his drinking later in life, his early years were well lubricated by booze, particularly brandy.

In an 1887 Harper’s article, one of Poe’s college roommates remarked, that he was “seldom without a bottle of Benny Haven’s best brandy. … He had already acquired the more dangerous habit of constant drinking.”

Brandy also forms the basis of the Poe family eggnog recipe. The specs have been printed in dozens of Baltimore cookbooks and Poe features over the last 100 years. Check them out for yourself.

Print Recipe
Eggnog (Edgar Allan Poe)
  1. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, whisking until thick and pale. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a small saucepan, warm three cups milk over low heat.
  3. Whisk one cup warm milk into yolk mixture. Add this back to the milk in the pan, stirring over low heat until combined and thickened. Remove from heat and quickly stir in cream.
  4. Place saucepan in prepared ice bath. Stir occasionally until chilled, then add brandy, rum, and remaining two cups of milk.
  5. Pour eggnog into glasses.
  6. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Spoon egg whites over eggnog, and top with grated nutmeg.
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