General Harrison’s Eggnog

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Eggnog is really out of season right now, but it is still a great drink, full of a richness that is hard to capture in a lot of cocktails thanks to the inclusion of the egg.  General Harrison’s Eggnog, a Jerry Thomas period piece, is a great and different eggnog.


Named after General William Henry Harrison, this eggnog is supposed to have been his favorite drink (Wondrich 132).  Harrison, for those who don’t know, was an eccentric President of the United States, who served the shortest term (only a month).  As the Ninth President, he was one of the earlier presidents, and was going to play a major supporter of the Whig party and its’ political agenda.  However, after his death, his successor, Tyler, abandoned the Whig docket, and cut himself off from the party.  President Harrison had died after contracting pneumonia dying nine days after becoming ill.

Still somewhat popular (as far as old classics go), this drink is perhaps one of the more commonly made drinks to have survived through the ages from Jerry Thomas’ bar book.  It has a wonderful viscosity and creamy head from the egg, but yet is light thanks to the use of cider, and is fortified with hard cider.  Personally, I use a sparkling demi-sec cider, which means the drink has to be made differently, on account of the effervescence, but it does give the overall consistency a nice textural component and levity upon the tongue.

The drink was common along the Mississippi river, and so thus, it just seems like a southern drink to me: and I cannot picture a better time to drink this beverage than out in the summer heat, chilled with nice, tart cider.

General Harrison’s Eggnog:

1 egg
1 tablespoon simple syrup or 2 teaspoons sugar
4 ounces hard cider

In a shaker tin, dry shake the egg with the sweetener.  Add ice.  Shake some more, adding the cider, and shake, finally straining into a glass.  If using a sparkling cider, add a bit to the tin over the ice, straining the eggnog mixture out, and top up with the rest of the cider.  Garnish with grated nutmeg and, if desired, cinnamon.

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Embury, David A.  2009.  The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks.  Originally published 1948.  New York: Mud Puddle Books, Inc.

Thomas, Jerry.  1887.  Bartender’s Guide.  Reprint of original.  New York: Dick and Fitzgerald.

Wondrich, David. 2007. Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash, a Salute in Stories and Drinks to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, Pioneer of the American Bar. New York: Penguin Group.