Like its medieval British beverage antecedent the posset, eggnog recipes vary on many factors including time, place, and popular ingredients. Early recipes for boozy versions of eggy potables featured ale, wine, sherry, and brandy with rum or bourbon often popping up in American recipes. A quintessential US eggnog recipe can be found in the 1917 book The Ideal Bartender, written by libation legend Tom Bullock – the first Black American to publish a cocktail guide, and one with some intriguing presidential connections. Watch the video to find out more.

To follow along with Bullock’s one-glass eggnog recipe – complete with period-appropriate weights and measures – you’ll need:

Eggnog: One glass


  • ½ large bar glass (or equivalent) of shaved ice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoonful of bar sugar
  • ¾ jigger brandy
  • ½ jigger Jamaica rum
  • 1 large glass of milk


Put all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill up with milk and shake thoroughly. Strain into a tall, thin glass and serve with little nutmeg grated on top.

Eggnog: Three gallons

One glass not enough? Bullock’s got a recipe for you too.


  • 20 eggs
  • 2 ½ lbs of bar sugar
  • 2 quarts brandy
  • 1 ½ pints Jamaica rum
  • Plenty of milk


Beat the egg yolks until thin and stir in the bar sugar until thoroughly dissolved. Into this mixture pour the rum and brandy. Stir well.

Pour in the milk slowly, stirring all the while to prevent curdling. Pour carefully over the top of the mixture the whites of the eggs, which have been beaten to a stiff froth. Fill punch glasses from the bowl with ladle and sprinkle a little nutmeg over each glassful.

Stay safe!

Raw eggs should be handled and stored with care. Check out the US Food and Drug Administration’s advice.