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Our annual publication of the U.S. Supreme Court’s eggnog recipe comes with the usual admonition: It is potent stuff, not to be drunk before driving. But if you like classic eggnog, not the chemical brew that grocery stores offer, it is hard to beat.

Harlan Fiske Stone, Chief Justice of the United States, Circa 1927-1932.
Harlan Fiske Stone, Chief Justice of the United States, Circa 1927-1932.

Strictly speaking, it is not the court’s official recipe. The Green Bag law review found the recipe in the papers of the late Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone and published it in 1998, stating that the recipe was attributed to someone named “Harry Parker.”

Then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote a letter to The Green Bag, identifying 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 offered a personal recollection of Parker that was telling, not only about Parker but about Rehnquist and race relations at the time. Parker was home for several weeks with pneumonia, Rehnquist said. “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.”

Back to the eggnog: The recipe can be halved and, to avoid the risk of salmonella, using pasteurized eggs may be a good idea.

Here is the recipe, as published by The Green Bag.

Egg Nog—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, will keep for 30 days.

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

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

Contact Tony Mauro at tmauro@alm.com. On Twitter: @Tonymauro.

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