Toast the New Year with 400-Year-Old ‘Buttered Beere’

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

No, this isn’t the syrupy butterscotch drink you can buy at Harry Potter World, but it did inspire it. If you’re in the mood for a boozy, rich and aromatic experience this holiday season, Buttered Beere is just what you need. You’ll also impress your loved ones by offering them a hot sip of Tudor England that will DEFINITELY keep them plump and jolly through the winter months.

YouTube channel Tasting History with Max Miller introduced me to this recipe from 16th century cookbook The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin. In short, ale makers would often add eggs, butter, sugar and spices to batches of brew that had turned the corner in order to mask the unpleasant taste. I’d imagine ale drinkers began to appreciate the sweet and spicy beverage in its own right and wanted to replicate it at home.

Note: This recipe goes a long way and can serve a modest get-together (depending on how much you drink) because it is so VERY rich.

3 Pints (1500ml/48oz) of good quality British Ale

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 lb (225g) demerara or brown sugar

5 egg yolks

1 stick (113g) diced unsalted butter

Max Miller says, “Take 5 yolks and beat them with the demerara or brown sugar until light and frothy. Set aside. Poor the ale into a saucepan. Try to not create too much foam. Stir in the spices. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer for 2 minutes. For a non-alcoholic drink, leave at medium heat and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the egg and sugar mixture. Then return the pot to low heat until the liquid starts to thicken. Simmer for (approximately) 5 minutes.”

Make sure to keep that heat low and keep a close watch so the eggs don’t cook!

“Add in the diced butter and stir until melted. Then froth the buttered beer with a hand whisk and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow buttered beer to cool to a warm but drinkable temperature. Then whisk again and serve warm. This can (also) be served cold by chilling the beer, then mixing it with cold milk (1 part beer/1 part milk).”

My tip for 2020: spike it with whiskey and toast the new year.

News reporter and writer from the land of bullfrogs, cattle and cannabis. To read more, visit and subscribe. @DakotaNMorlan

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