Marie Rudisill’s “Real Plantation Eggnog”
(Slightly Modified to Become
"Rude as Hell Eggnog")
Words by Chuck Reece • Photography by Renee Brock
Trust us. This is one of the few times you’ll ever see the descriptive phrase “real plantation whatever” in The Bitter Southerner. We’re not much into glorifying that era of Southern history.
But we are very much into historical accuracy.
Once we decided we were going to try again to overcome the common Southern malady known as Fear of Fruitcake, we knew we would need strong drink to aid in our effort. So we went straight to the source, The Fruitcake Lady herself, for the “Real Plantation Eggnog” she wrote into “Sook’s Cookbook: Memories and Traditional Receipts From the Deep South.”
In the cookbook, Rudisill writes, “This receipt (not a typo, just an old-Southern-lady pronunciation of ‘recipe’) was taken from the actual records of a farm journal dated 1846.”
There! A 167-year-old recipe for a Christmastime joy enhancer. The 1846 recipe calls for a dozen eggs, three cups of heavy cream and six ounces each of confectioner’s sugar, “fine bourbon whiskey” and “fine Jamaican rum.”
But we wondered if a modern Southern bartender could perhaps improve on the classic. So we asked our friends Jerry Slater and Krista Mason at H. Harper Station to take a look at Rudisill’s recipe and either modify it or declare it dandy as is. Their modifications were slight, but potent. Keep all the eggs and cream, but up the bourbon and rum to eight ounces each. To keep the sweet-to-spirit proportions intact, they also upped the confectioner’s sugar to eight ounces.
For the bourbon, they used Old Forester, a tasty but inexpensive choice, but they upped the ante considerably by choosing Smith & Cross, which is truly a “fine Jamaican rum,” and one that comes in at a whopping 114 proof.
Slater declares the modified egg nog “awesome,” and the recipe is clearly proving its appeal. Slater and Mason have added it to the menu a couple of nights at H. Harper and it’s sold out both times. So herewith, the recipe. The instructions here are Rudisill’s, verbatim from her cookbook, but the ingredients are altered to reflect the Slater/Mason variation.
12 egg yolks, beaten till light in color
8 ounces powdered sugar
8 ounces Old Forester bourbon
8 ounces Smith & Cross rum
12 egg whites, stiffly beaten
3 cups heavy cream, whipped
“Beat the egg yolks until they are light, which requires a long beating time. Add the sugar and beat again until light. Add the whiskey and rum very, very slowly, beating all the time. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites and, lastly, fold in the whipped cream.”
Rudisill concludes, “Serve in chilled silver cups with a sprinkling of fresh nutmeg.”
In our experience, a silver cup isn’t necessary to enjoy this Christmas treat. Just chill whatever cup you want to drink it from, and you’ll be fine.