To make Irish Usquebaugh; from Lord Capell‘s Receipt, when he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

To every Gallon of French-Brandy, put one Ounce of Liquorice sliced, one Ounce of sweet Fennel-Seeds, one Ounce of Anniseeds, one Pound of Raisins of the Sun split and stoned, a quarter of a Pound of Figs split, two Drachms of Coriander-Seeds, let these infuse about eight or nine Days, and pour the Liquor clear off, then add half an Ounce of Saffron, in a Bag, for a Day or two, and when that is out, put in a Drachm of Musk. If when this Composition is made, it seems to be too high a Cordial for the Stomach, put to it more Brandy, till you reduce it to the Temper you like. This is the same Receipt King William had when he was in Ireland.

The recipe above is from The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director in the Management of a House, and the Delights and Profits of a Farm, by Richard Bradley (1736). I was looking for usquebaugh and ran across this recipe at A Collection of Civil War Alcoholic Drink Recipes at Civil War Interactive, which kindly noted the source was The Country Housewife and Lady’s Director, as reprinted in A Sip Through Time by Cindy Renfrow. I cannot attest to the quality of the recipe, but King William can.

You may notice that this concoction bears no relationship to a fine glass of Tullamore Dew other than that both contain alcohol. It’s a cordial, a medicinal water, the cure for what ails you.

(It might be a bit too absurd for some to drink a recipe mentioning King William III on Lá Fhéile Pádraig, given historical tensions. But one hopes that historical tensions can be put to rest in enjoyment of a fine beverage, regardless of its provenance.)

Egg Nog

Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s and Party Guide (64th Edition) (Warner Books, 1994) has this to say on the subject of egg nog.

Eggnog can be made from scratch, but since those recipes use raw eggs, which may carry the risk of salmonella poisoning, only recipes using commercially prepared eggnog are included here.

And so they have a whole section containing recipes which basically consist of “add [spirit] to any old egg nog you find in the store.” The current edition is somewhat better.

I like egg nog, but I find the commercial preparations to be far too thick and sweet for my taste these days. Besides there’s no fun in buying a quart of something and tossing some rum in it. This year, I’ll make my own.

There are two recipes that I’ve had my eye on. One, Bourbon Eggnog from Imbibe Magazine, I haven’t made yet. The other, Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s Egg Nog, I made tonight. While this is the very first egg nog I’ve made from scratch, it’s also the best egg nog I’ve ever tasted.

Mr. Morgenthaler notes that his recipe serves two, so I halved it to serve one. I substituted half and half for the milk and cream because, according to the ingredients list on the half and half I have, it contains “Milk, Cream.”

Egg Nog

  • 1 egg
  • 3 TBsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 oz. brandy
  • 1 oz. rum
  • 5 oz. Half and Half

Combine the half and half, brandy, rum, and nutmeg in a measuring glass. Beat the egg in a blender for one minute. Let the blender continue to run, and slowly add sugar. Wait a minute. Add the contents of the measuring glass and blend until combined. Set in the refrigerator to chill and to let the flavors combine. Serve in a coupe, a punch cup, or a old fashioned glass as suits the occasion. Garnish with grated nutmeg. The glass will determine, to an extent, the serving size.

If you’re bad at multiplication, you can also find this recipe in The New York Times, either on-line or in The Essential New York Times Cookbook, as Blender Eggnog.