For many years as a December public service, I’ve posted the legendary Supreme Court recipe for eggnog. I’ve been remiss in recent years, so I’ve dusted it off, and I am posting it now in my blog, with some history to go along with the nog.

Strictly speaking, it is not the court’s official recipe. The unique Green Bag law review found the recipe in the papers of the late Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone and published it as a holiday card in 1998. The chief justice and his wife, Agnes, hosted a New Year’s Eve reception almost every year of his tenure from 1941 to 1946.

“The chief justice was a respected oenophile but he had no objection to eggnog in its season, and the Stones habitually attended several eggnog parties hosted by various government officials on December 31,” the Green Bag reported.

But the law review was stumped because the recipe was attributed to someone named “Harry Parker,” whom “we have not been able to identify.” Surprisingly, then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote to the Green Bag to solve the mystery. Rehnquist identified Parker as a messenger for Justice Robert Jackson, for whom Rehnquist clerked in 1952 and 1953. Parker had been a messenger for Jackson for several years before that.

Rehnquist also had a story to tell about Parker that gave a glimpse to race relations at the time. Parker was home for several weeks with pneumonia, Rehnquist wrote. “Because he was an elderly man, we worried about him, and I called him up one day to tell him I would like to come and see him. He told me that would not be a good idea—that white people simply did not come into a black neighborhood like his. I nonetheless drove out to his house, whereupon he opened his upstairs window and conveyed the same message, in a gentle but determined way.”

Now, back to the eggnog. As part of the public service, I warn readers: It is a powerful eggnog, so do not plan to drive, write important briefs or use heavy machinery after drinking it. Another tip: The recipe can be halved and, to avoid the risk of salmonella, using pasteurized eggs may be a good idea. Here it is, as found in Stone’s papers:

Eggnog—Harry Parker (by way of Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone)


12 eggs

1 gallon milk

Ground nutmeg

1 lb. sugar

1 quart whiskey

½ pint brandy

1/8 pint rum


  1. Separate egg yolks from whites
  2. Cream yolks of eggs and sugar together
  3. Add whiskey, brandy and rum. Beat well
  4. Add milk, stir well
  5. Add nutmeg to taste
  6. Beat whites of eggs very light
  7. Add the beaten whites of eggs and stir in well

Note: If put in cold place, it will keep for 30 days.

Never use all cream. Cream contains large percentage of fat. If made of all cream, the eggnog will become rancid.

Be sure to add whiskey, brandy and rum before adding milk.


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