Friday, 22 April 2011

Beer cocktails

Not modern beer cocktails, obviously. These are ones I tripped over while trotting down the corridors of the past. I've still got a bruise on my knee.


"Ale and Beer Cups should be made with good sound ale, and drunk from the tankard; being more palatable and presentable in this way than in glasses.

Cambridge Ale Cup.—Boil in 3 pints of water 1 oz. of cloves, 1 oz. of cinnamon, 1 oz. of mace, (all bruised together), for one hour; strain clear; add 3 oz. pounded sugar, with the juice and thin peel of a lemon; then 3 pints of good college ale, and j pint of sherry; make hot immediately before serving; add a thin slice of fresh toast, with some nutmeg grated on it.

Ale Cup.—Macerate 0.25 oz. cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 allspice, a little grated nutmeg, in a gill of sherry; in two hours, strain; press, and put this in a jug; pour in 2 pints Burton ale (No. 1), and 4 bottles Rawlings' ginger beer. This is a drink that will make you forget all care; a little ice is an improvement in the glass.

Ale Cup, or Jehu's Nectar.—Into a quart pot grate some ginger; add a wine-glass of gin-and-bitters; then a pint of good ale (heated). This should be drunk while it is frothing.

Ale Cup.—Bottle of Edinburgh ale, 2 bottles of ginger beer, 0.5 gill syrup from preserved ginger, slice of cucumber, pint of shaven ice; mix together; stir well, and pour into thin glasses.

Ale Cup.—Bottle of good ale; pint of lumps of ice.
"Cooling cups and dainty drinks" by William Terrington, 1869, pages 184 - 185.

Bit dull those ones. Don't despair. The next set have much better names.


"Porter Cup.—Bottle of porter, wine-glass of sherry, 0.5 bottle of claret, 0.5 nutmeg (grated), sugar to taste. Mix the nutmeg and sherry; in a quarter of an hour, strain; put these together, in a jug, with a slice of cucumber and a large lump of ice.

Porter Cup.—Bottle of Burton (No. 1), bottle of London porter, pint of shaven. ice, bottle of lemonade.

Hot Cup.—Warm a pint of good ale; add 1 oz. of sugar, 1 oz. of mixed spice, glass of sherry; when nearly boiling, pour it on a round of buttered toast.

'Tween-Deck Cup, or a Splitting Headache.— Put into 0.25 pint of rum 0.5 doz. crushed cloves, a little cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg; strain in an hour, with pressure; add equal quantities of limejuice, and 2 quarts of bottled ale.

Copus Cup.—Stick a lemon full of cloves, which roast before a fire till of a dark brown; while roasting, make a mixture of 0.25 pint of brandy, 0.25 pint of noyeau, 0.5 oz. cinnamon (bruised); let this be well stirred; then put the lemon into a bowl, give it a squeeze with a spoon; add a toast of bread, and lay the lemon on the bread; add 4 oz. pounded sugar; pour on 2 quarts of hot old ale; then add the spirits, and in a quarter of an hour it will be fit for use.

Ale Cup.—Bottle of Scotch ale, mixed spice and nutmeg on a toast of bread; pour through a strainer, on a lump of ice; drink immediately.

Ale Cup.—Grate 0.25 oz. nutmeg; add an equal quantity of pounded ginger, cinnamon, and 3 oz. brown sugar; beat these up with the yolks of 3 eggs; meanwhile warm 0.5 gallon good ale and 0.5 pint of gin; pour in, whisking the while the spice mixture, when all frothing: it must be drunk immediately.

Freemasons' Cup.—Pint of Scotch ale, pint of mild beer, 0.5 pint of brandy, 1 pint of sherry, 0.5lb. crushed sugar-candy; grated nutmeg to taste. This can be used either as a hot or cold cup.

Wait a Bit.—Pint bottle of the best Scotch ale; 1 bottle of aerated lemonade, pint of ice in lumps.

Mother-in-law.—Half old and half bitter ale.

Shandy Gaff.—Pint of good ale, bottle of ginger beer.

Cooper.—Pint of Dublin stout, pint of London porter.

John Bright.—Pint of stout, pint of bitter ale.

Purl, or Early Birds.—Heat a quart of ale, mixed with a tablespoonful of powdered ginger and nutmeg; whisk up with a gill of cold ale and 2 oz. moist sugar 3 fresh eggs; when well frothed up, add the warm ale, by degrees, and a glass of spirits; when this is done, drink immediately."
"Cooling cups and dainty drinks" by William Terrington, 1869, pages 185 - 188.

Dainty drinks?  I wouldn't describe a drink containing half a pint of brandy and a pint of sherry as "dainty" myself. Sounds more like something that would get mixed up on a park bench.

I was shocked to see Mother-in-law in there. Who would have thought it had been around for that long? Just too good a bad joke, I suppose.

Splitting Headache - what a great name for a drink I can just iumagine ordering that in some trendy cocktail bar. "A Splitting Headache, please, and make it a pint."

3 comments:

Alan said...

Now I have reason to take up that lapsed Master Masonic status of mine. Liking that Freemason's cup - even if the "cup" is the size of a basin. These would have been punch bowls for sharing, right?

bryangb said...

A cocktail in a quart pot? Mmm...

Still, some of these wouldn't look too out of place on some of the modern cocktail menus I've seen (mainly in Germany).

Gary Gillman said...

These drinks are within the old English tradition of spiced, compounded ales, sometimes mulled, and sometimes with additives such as eggs, wines or spirits. Even in the period mentioned, they were dying away, hence memorialising in this book. Still, some modern touches appeared, snappy names, and also the use of ice.

Punches similarly had their last gasp in this period. (See David Wondrich's wonderful new book on the history of punch).

The true survivors of the tradition are cocktails and mixed drinks. True, these are strong or strongish drinks made (generally) in single portions, but they bear a relationship with the old communal bowls described in the posting. In a time of adaptation to a modern economy, communal activities, whether on ship, farm or estate, or indeed at family meals, which favoured the old ale mixtures, lessened in relation to individual enterprise, and a small strongish drink appealed more to people.

But the latter are still mixtures for the most part (even whisky-and-soda is), and they survived. The various gin drinks popular in England (Gin and It, etc.) were the equivlent of cocktails there since the cocktails craze has always had a peculiarly American stamp.

I wonder if anyone will revive the old flowing bowl as it pertains to ale. I've tried my hand at these over the years, usually without success, but I'm not sure I did it right. The ones with eggs always failed, but someone later told me you need to use a very fresh farm egg, one that hasn't been chilled, to make the mixtures calling for them work.

The one mentioned which involves sherry, ale and nutmeg seems promising, I can see that being served on the deck of a bungalow with a barbeque.

Gary