Charles Mingus’ “Top Secret” Eggnog Recipe Contains “Enough Alcohol to Put Down an Elephant”


Image by Tom Marcello Webster, via Wikimedia Commons

Just in time for a hard-drinking Christmas, the Village Voice brings us the “top secret” eggnog recipe from “Angry Man of Jazz” Charles Mingus. Despite his generally irascible temperament, Mingus had a legendary “zeal for parties and drink” and “felt the yuletide spirit—or spirits, if you will—according to biographer Janet Coleman.” Mingus passed his recipe to Coleman over the phone, and she published it in Mingus/Mingus: Two Memoirs. The ‘nog, the Voice tells us, “calls for enough alcohol to put down an elephant,” so if you happen to be hosting one, this might just come in handy. Humans seem to dig it too. Coleman called it “a concoction so delicious and mind-blowing, you would do anything to make sure you saw him at Christmas.”

Charles Mingus’ “Top Secret” Eggnog

* Separate one egg for one person. Each person gets an egg.
* Two sugars for each egg, each person.
* One shot of rum, one shot of brandy per person.
* Put all the yolks into one big pan, with some milk.
* That’s where the 151 proof rum goes. Put it in gradually or it’ll burn the eggs,
* OK. The whites are separate and the cream is separate.
* In another pot- depending on how many people- put in one shot of each, rum and brandy. (This is after you whip your whites and your cream.)
* Pour it over the top of the milk and yolks.
* One teaspoon of sugar. Brandy and rum.
* Actually you mix it all together.
* Yes, a lot of nutmeg. Fresh nutmeg. And stir it up.
* You don’t need ice cream unless you’ve got people coming and you need to keep it cold. Vanilla ice cream. You can use eggnog. I use vanilla ice cream.
* Right, taste for flavor. Bourbon? I use Jamaica Rum in there. Jamaican Rums. Or I’ll put rye in it. Scotch. It depends.
See, it depends on how drunk I get while I’m tasting it.

If you’re drinking tonight, make sure you drink responsibly!

Related Content:

Try George Orwell’s Recipe for Christmas Pudding, from His Essay “British Cookery” (1945)

Prepare Marilyn Monroe’s Personal, Handwritten Turkey-and-Stuffing Recipe on Thanksgiving

Charles Mingus Explains in His Grammy-Winning Essay “What is a Jazz Composer?”

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

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