The Adventure of the Festive Nog

The Adventure of the Festive Nog

by John H. Watson, M.D.

transcribed from the original manuscript by a nameless Watsonian

Since the reading public first became exposed to the cases of my friend Sherlock Holmes through my public records, my personal correspondence has increased substantially. Invitations, both for social gatherings and for personal attention, make up many of the letters. Still more express appreciation and request more of the same. And then there are the ones that don’t fit any other category.

“Listen to this one,” I told Sherlock Holmes as he bent over his little lab table, gently brushing some ancient artifact. “Dear Mr. Watson. Do you prefer a cool egg nog to a warm Tom and Jerry? Do you have a particular family recipe that you enjoy? You seem like a man of discernment and taste, so I would thoroughly enjoy your advice on this matter. Sincerely, Harold Buckham.”

Sherlock Holmes turned his head to reveal the mild irritation on his face.

“And you’re inflicting this upon me because . . . ?”

“It’s a mystery,” I replied. “Why anyone would care about my opinion on such matters, and how they would even think I know such a thing. Do they think we host a lot of holiday parties here, amid the criminal records and chemical experiments?”

Holmes sighed. “You’re going to do this, aren’t you?”

I started at how quickly he seemed to read my innermost thoughts.

“It seems necessary.”

Holmes went to the window, opened it, and shouted down to the street.

“Ahoy, Wiggins! Fresh eggs and milk, please!”

“YES, SIR!” came a shout from the street.

While Sherlock Holmes did use his army of street scoundrels to find witnesses and criminals just enough to keep them interested. More often, he just sent them to pick up everyday items for him. The tobacconist knew them well.

In under an hour, Holmes had assembled his ingredients. Deciding he needed nutmeg held the process up the longest, as the eggs and milk came very quickly.

Having retrieved a large bowl and a whisk from Mrs. Hudson, he separated the yellows from the clear mucus of the eggs and poured in milk and some fine sugar.

“Does your shoulder wound allow you to do the honors?” he asked, handing me a large stirring spoon.

“It should be my greatest pleasure!” I replied.

As I stirred, Holmes took his whisk and beat the egg whites into a frothy foam.

“Don’t forget the rum,” he told me, and I reached for the decanter.

Once we had both completed our tasks, Holmes poured his foamy white whip on top of my punch and sprinkled the whole thing with nutmeg.

“I recall you speaking of the Tom and Jerry served at Thurston’s in the past, so this should complete your experience of holiday milk punches. Fill your cup and let’s have your verdict!”

I did and settled back in my chair to take my first sip.

“Ahhhh,” I said after getting the full flavor.

“As the wise Socrates once said, ‘feriatum bibere a roommate Poenorum compescitur!’” Holmes replied.

I gave Holmes a chance to read my thoughts once more and then had a nice evening filling my soul with Christmas spirit, and would later write another story that would never see publication.