Friday, December 11, 2020by Reverend Dan on December 11, 2020
"Let your moderation be known to everyone."
Gather around, boys and girls. Today I want to tell you about the Great Eggnog Riot of 1826. No, I’m serious, it really happened and that’s what it is called. But first, a little history.
Eggnog has been around since before refrigeration. In fact, the original drink was served hot. Which is probably where the idea of adding alcohol came from; nobody could stomach the thought of drinking milk, eggs, sugar, and cream hot.
No one knows the exact origins of eggnog, but we do know it originated in England centuries ago. It was originally a wintertime drink for the British aristocracy, and the name came from two words: grog (another name for rum), and noggins (a word for the small wooden mugs that the drink was served in).
Rum was the original alcohol in the concoction, mostly because when the colonists drank it in the 1700’s, rum was from the Caribbean which meant it wasn’t nearly as heavily taxed as brandy and wine. But as Americans started to make whiskey, soon any brown alcohol became acceptable.
Which gets us to the Eggnog Riot of 1826. By this time, it had gone from a wintertime drink to a Christmas tradition. (Not sure why, it just did!) And nobody liked to party back then like college students. And the military. So, add to that the fact that just before Christmas of that year the superintendent of the military academy at West Point in New York had banned alcohol from the premises, and you’ve got a powder keg. All those students training for the military who couldn’t go home for Christmas all holed up in a dormitory together.
At least 90 cadets started partaking of the Yuletide liquid on the night of December 24th, and soon everything was out of control. Two officers were assaulted trying to break it up; windows in the north barracks were broken; bannisters were torn from stairways; plates and dishes and cups were smashed into little pieces in the dining hall. Quite a night into the next morning when it finally subsided when everyone took a long Christmas nap and woke up with a bad Christmas headache.
Ultimately, 11 cadets were expelled from the school and 19 were court martialed. (One who escaped punishment was Cadet Jefferson Davis, future president of the Confederacy.) The event was written up in a local newspaper, and it was summarized that “the boys were bound to do it.”
Today, over 130 million pounds of eggnog are consumed annually. And that leads us to today’s lesson, class. Everything in moderation, even at Christmas.
"Father, Guide us to honor you in the way we celebrate our Savior’s birth. In Jesus' name, AMEN."