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Friday, December 24, 2010

Traditional Wassail - Don't Forget the Eggs!

In the "old" category of today's posts, we turn to Martyn Cornell, who offers several 19th-Century recipes for mulled ale concoctions. In one, preparation the proportions call for six pints ale along with a half pound of brown sugar--plus some sherry. Sounds tasty! (No, it doesn't.) There are others involving gin, oatmeal, and lots of spices. But the most intriguing is this, one of two employing eggs:

Many drinks in the “spiced heated ales” tradition feature eggs: here’s a typical mulled ale recipe:

1 pint of strong, lightly hopped ale
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of sugar
Quarter-teaspoon of nutmeg or ginger
1 tablespoon of rum or brandy

Beat the eggs, sugar, spices and spirits together in a two and a half pint jug. Heat the ale in a two and a half pint saucepan almost to boiling. Pour the hot ale into the egg mixture from a great height (to prevent the egg curdling). Rapidly pour the now creamy liquid from the jug to the pan and back in a long stream several times. Serve.

Most look as though they have adequate info to actually construct, so if you're looking for an interesting beverage to serve on Christmas Eve, you might consider the very old school. What they lack in appeal they gain in authenticity.


  1. I know nothing about the origins of wassail but here's my girlfriend's mom's recipe. It contains no beer:
    apple cider
    orange juice
    lemon juice
    pineapple juice
    1/3 cup sugar or honey
    cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg

    Simmer on stove for one hour or so and then add rum.
    It took me a little getting used to, but I liked it. Actually preferred it without the booze, for the most part.

  2. I played around with mulled beer last year, and actually I found it pretty good:

    Somehow, ale, sugar and sherry doesn't sound half bad to me. Served warm, of course.