Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
“So religiously is this custom of the eggnog drinking observed that Judge Garnett of Mathews County tells a story of rushing in on Christmas morning to warn his father that the house was on fire. The old gentleman first led his son to the breakfast table and ladled out his glass of eggnog, drank one with him, then went to care for the burning building.”
~ Good Housekeeping Magazine, 1900
Much loved in the American colonies, where access to eggs and dairy (and liquor) was easily available, eggnog (derived from an egg-less concoction from the 14th century, known as posset “a drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or the like, often sweetened and spiced") is a popular holiday beverage made with eggs, spices, milk or cream, and various quantities of rum, whisky, sherry, brandy and bourbon. Eggnog has the added distinction of being responsible for the Eggnog Riot of 1826, also called the Grog Mutiny, which took place on this day at the United States Military Academy in West Point, resulting in the court-martialing of many cadets of future eminence. Cheers!
The Whisky Punch
December 24th is eggnog day!
Traditionally consumed throughout Canada and the United States at Christmas every year, eggnog is a rich concoction traditionally made with milk and/or cream, sugar, whipped eggs (which gives it a frothy texture) and, in some recipes, distilled spirits such as brandy, rum or bourbon. The finished serving is often garnished with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon or nutmeg.
This type of Whisky Punch also has the distinction as being the cause of one of the worst examples of eggnog-fueled debauchery in history, a Christmas incident known as "the Eggnog Riot," which took place at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, on 23–25 December 1826.
Alcohol possession at the academy was prohibited, along with drunkenness and intoxication, both of which could lead to expulsion. By 1826, concern had been raised that drinking was starting to get out of hand amongst the 260 cadets at the academy. The cadets were informed that, due to the alcohol prohibition on the site, their Christmas eggnog would be alcohol-free, prompting the decision by cadets to smuggle liquor into the academy.
Gallons of whiskey were smuggled into the barracks to make eggnog for a Christmas Day party. This led to "...a drunken free-for-all. Windows, furniture, and crockery were smashed; bannisters were torn from walls, fights broke out. One eggnog-addled cadet tried, but failed, to shoot his commanding officer."
By the time morning had arrived, the North Barracks had been completely wrecked.
The incident resulted in the court-martialing of twenty cadets and one enlisted soldier. Neither the young Jefferson Davis (future president of the Confederacy) nor Robert E. Lee (future general of the Confederacy), who were in attendance, was found guilty of any offenses nor expelled.
For more on the infamous Eggnog Riot, pour yourself a glass of eggnog and click the painting below thought to depict the early hours before things got out of hand.