1893 text

Buttered ale must have been a horrible concoction, as it is described as ale boiled with lump sugar and spice.

This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

6 Annotations

First Reading

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Once more Samuell gets his name in print:OED:
4. buttered ale: a beverage composed of sugar, cinnamon, butter, and beer brewed without hops. Obs.
1662 PEPYS Diary 5 Dec., And give him a morning draught of buttered ale. 1667 Ibid. 28 Sept., It will cost him..£300. in ale, and £52. in buttered ale.

Mary  •  Link

Buttered Ale recipe (from Heston Blumenthal)

2 cans Old Speckled Hen ale
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
120g caster sugar
5 egg yolks
20g unsalted butter.

Pour the ale into a saucepan and stir in the ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Gently heat this mixture until it is warm (approx. 52C if you have a thermometer).

Meanwhile,blitz egg-yolks and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy.

Once the ale is warm, add the egg-yolk and sugar mixture and return to the heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken slightly (no hotter than 78C). Be careful not to let the pan get too hot or the eggs will scramble. Maintain this temperature for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until it melts. Then froth the mixture well will a small (cappuccino) whisk until it looks like frothy, milky tea. Pour into small glasses, mini tankards or espresso cups and serve immediately.

Serves 6-10.

Mary  •  Link

The Blumenthal recipe above is not, I should have pointed out, that chef's invention, but his 21st Century 'translation' of an old (doesn't say how old on the website) recipe.

Kieran  •  Link

In a book I have on Victorian houseware, they mention copper ale mullers, which look a bit like a copper shoe, to be placed in the fire to warm ale. So I think mulled ale was pretty popular right into the 19th century.

Here's an example: http://www.ponzisantiques.com/ite…

Second Reading

Bill  •  Link

To make Buttered Ale.
Take a quart of mild Ale, put it into a sauce-pan, with some cloves, mace, a whole nutmeg, and sugar to your taste; set it over the fire, and let it boil five minutes; then take it off and put in a lump of butter, the size of a walnut, and let it stand to melt; then beat six eggs, leaving out four whites, in a little cold Ale, and mix it with the warm Ale, and pour it in and out of the sauce-pan, till it is fine and smooth; then set it over the fire and heat it again, till it becomes thick and quite hot. Send it to table with dry toast.
---The family director; or, Housekeeper's assistant. A. Ashburn, 1807.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.


  • Dec