Apr 22, 2018

Beer Break

Beer Break Vol. 3, No. 11
Beer drinks for the season

Dec. 19, 2002

These are the sort of recipes that might come with the humorous suggestion "do not try at home." But home is the best place to try them, before unleashing such concoctions on friends or acquaintances. We thought you might find them fun for holiday celebrations, so they are offered "as is" and without guarantees.


They come from the book Beer and Good Food by Myra Waldo, published in 1958.

In Dickens' times a posset was the drink to have when one felt tired or had a cold. A posset, called a "poshote" during Chaucer's time, is any hot milk drink curdled with beer. On Christmas Eve in the 19th century the custom was to offer each caroling guest a posset cup and a piece of apple pie or tart.

4 cups milk
4 tablespoons sugar
4 slices toast
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 cups of beer (preferably ale)

Heat the milk, sugar, and toast in a saucepan, but don't let it boil. Stir the cinnamon and beer together in a punch bowl.

Discard the toast. Pour the hot milk over the ale and stir. Drink from mugs while warm. Serves 8-10.

The showy aspect of this one appeals to us. Make sure you have two large pitchers on hand.

1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cognac
3 egg yolks
3 egg whites
2 cups ale
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Combine the sugar and cognac and stir together until fairly smooth. Beat the egg yolks until light in color. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Place the ale in a saucepan and heat until it barely begins to boil, and then add the sugar mixture. Remove from the heat.

Add the beaten egg yolks, egg whites, and nutmeg and stir together. Pour into one of the pitchers. Pour from one pitcher to another carefully, but with some speed, so as to induce the mixture to foam. The drink should be quite smooth.

Purl has dozens of different variations. This one is an English version perfect for a cold winter's night.

1 cup ale
1 ounce gin
dash bitters

Heat the beer until it boils. In a mug, combine the gin and bitter. Pour the beer over the two.

If you want, make this in the traditional way. Wash a poker well, then heat until red-hot. Immerse it slowly into the mug containing the mixture, making sure not to let it overflow.

1 teaspoon honey
1 cup ale
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Place the honey in the bottom of a stone mug. Heat the ale (unless you choose to use the poker) in a saucepan, but do not allow it to boil. Pour over the honey and sprinkle with nutmeg.

1 cup cognac
4 cups beer
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups water

Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Serves 6-8.

Tasting notes

At this year's service to bless the release of Samichlaus beer, Michael Jackson had the opportunity to taste four vintages of the famous strong lager, the last produced by Hürlimann and the three that have been brewed by Eggenberg. He writes:

"The last Hürlimann vintage, from 1997, seemed substantially darker in its chestnut color, and more nutty. I believe those characteristics were part of the house style, but they could have been heightened by very slight oxidation. The first version from Eggenberg, released for Christmas 2000, demonstrated at this tasting more malty, cereal grain, pancake-like, flavors. The 2001 vintage seemed sweeter and creamier; this year's fruitier and livelier, with the typical 'cherry brandy' character."

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