Reading Matters

Allan Gurganus’s eggnog recipe ‘served at best bar in paradise’

With great thanks to Hillsborough novelist, Allan Gurganus, who shares with us (at my request) the recipe for “The Eggnog Served at the Best Bar in Paradise.”

“My people proved so thin-blooded-Presbyterian they never allowed a molecule of brandy on our Christmas fruitcake,” Gurganus tells us. “But, down the street, there lived a happier, more prosperous, family, who owned a crystal punchbowl big as a birdbath. Every December 24th, my friends filled their gleaming basin with the nog of the gods.

“I first grew tipsy from the merest fumes off their tradition,” he says. “Today, by offering you their recipe, I am giving – if not quite the secret of happiness – then certainly a backstage pass to perfect in-crowd jollity. Yes, it is worth the calories. Soon, your cheeks will take on a Santa rosiness. And I promise, after cup # three, you’ll feel a sudden warming patience – even toward your gathered cousins who voted for the wrong Presidential candidate.

“I call this ‘an old family recipe.’ But, as usual, the old family isn’t really mine. Still, my extracting this formula from glamorous Episcopalian neighbors took decades, wedding gifts, and every scrap of diplomatic skill. This heirloom formula should therefore be followed with scientific exactitude. (No house-brand substitutions, please!) Only then will the desired happy golden fussy aftermath be achieved. Only then will you feel more forgiving toward your own assigned dry-stick purse-mouth family. But, you will repeatedly toast those others---the wilder, wiser, wetter, richer, better-looking folks just down the block. Bottoms up!”

Eggnog Served in the Best Bar in Paradise

In a small bowl put 9 egg yolks, one cup of sugar, 3/4 of a fifth of Canadian Club, and 1/2 cup of Bacardi’s white rum. Let sit one hour.

In a large bowl place 9 egg whites. Beat them very stiff adding when frothy 1 tablespoon of sugar. Fold in the yolks-and-sugar.

Whip half-pint of heavy cream (not so stiffly) and add to the large bowl along with 5 cups of whole milk.

Chill for at least several hours or overnight. Serve with grated nutmeg.

Feel better almost instantly. Peace on earth, goodwill toward men, etc.

Allan Gurganus is the author of six works of fiction, including, “The Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All,” and, most recently, “Local Souls.”