Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Cheer with the Founders

My favorite Yuletide Founding factoid is George Washington's contract with his gardener:

"In consideration of these things being well and truly performed on the part of said Philip Bater, the said George Washington doth agree to allow him. . . four dollars at Christmas with which he may be drunk 4 days and 4 nights, two dollars at Easter to effect the same purpose; two dollars also at Whitsuntide, to be drunk two days, a Dram in the morning and a drink of Grog at Dinner or at Noon."

As pointed out elsewhere here at American Creation, Christmas wasn't that big a religious holiday back in the day. But it was twice as important as Easter or Whitsuntide [Pentecost] for getting good and loaded: Four days drunk and four whole dollars to do it with! Now, that's a verrrrrrry Merry Christmas, and Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. [Or four of them!]

And don't miss GWash's eggnog recipe, which'll clean out half your liquor cabinet, courtesy of our erstwhile blogbrother Mark DeForrest:

"Here is George Washington's very own recipe for eggnog.  Be warned, it is heavy on the spirits in keeping with the tastes and customs of the day, and he doesn't specify how many eggs to use.  [One reader suggests 12.] Of course, this means you can adjust the eggs to your own taste and still claim complete colonial authenticity to your recreation of Washington's recipe:
One quart cream, one quart milk, one dozen tablespoons sugar, one pint brandy, 1/2 pint rye whiskey, 1/2 pint Jamaica rum, 1/4 pint sherry—mix liquor first, then separate yolks and whites of eggs, add sugar to beaten yolks, mix well. Add milk and cream, slowly beating. Beat whites of eggs until stiff and fold slowly into mixture. Let set in cool place for several days. Taste frequently.
Love that last bit of advice from the Father of Our Country!"

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