Friday, January 04, 2008

The Tenth Day of Christmas

January 4

“On the tenth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Ten lords a-leaping”

Whatever has made the lords leap about has to be our choice for the day, and it seems reasonable to assume it is too much (or just enough?) Christmas spirit of the alcoholic beverage kind. Christmas does seem to be the time to gild the lilies, culinarily speaking, and beverages are no exception. Here in hot Queensland, the only requirement of a Christmas beer is that it be long and very very cold. It is amazing what can be done with a simple beer or ale however, if the weather makes you so inclined.

Egg nogs and egg flips are drinks that you have when you really want custard. They are sometimes warm, sometimes cold, and are an easy way to alcohol-enhance your beer (or ale).

Here are a few examples:

Egg Flip.
Put a quart of ale in a tinned saucepan on the fire to boil; in the mean time, beat up the yolks of four, with the whites of two eggs, adding four table-spoonfuls of brown sugar and a little nutmeg; pour on the ale by degrees, beating up, so as to prevent the mixture from curdling; then pour back and forward repeatedly from vessel to vessel, raising the hand to as great a height as possible - which process produces the smoothness and frothing essential to the good quality of the flip. This is excellent for a cold, and, from its fleecy appearance, is sometimes designated " a yard of flannel."
[How to Mix Drinks: Or, The Bon-vivant's Companion, Containing ... Directions ... Jerry Thomas, Christian Schultz; 1862]

A drink made with the yolks of twelve eggs, a quart of strong home-brewed beer, a bottle of white wine, half a pint of gin, a grated nutmeg, the juice from the peel of a lemon, a small quantity of cinnamon, and sugar sufficient to sweeten it.
[Dictionary of obsolete and provincial English, Thomas Wright 1857]

Or, you can leave out the beer altogether of course, and go straight for the spirituous drinking custard. I’m sure this recipe could be tweaked (don’t separate the eggs, and cook over a low heat until thick) to make a fine sauce for any remaining pudding.

Egg Nogg (For a party of forty)
1 dozen eggs
2 quarts of brandy
1 pint of Santa Cruz rum
2 gallons of milk
1½ lb white sugar
Separate the whites of the eggs from the yolks, beat them separately with an egg-beater until the yolks are well cut up, and the whites assume a light fleecy appearance.
Mix all the ingredients (except the whites of the eggs) in a large punch bowl, then let the whites float on top, and ornament with colored sugars. Cool in a tub of ice, and serve.
[How to Mix Drinks: Or, The Bon-vivant's Companion, Containing ... Directions ... Jerry Thomas, Christian Schultz; 1862]

“On the tenth day of Christmas
My good friend gave to me
Ten beers a-brewing,
Nine loaves a-rising,
Eight cheeses ripening,
Seven fish a-swimming,
Six eggs a-poaching,
Five golden fruits,
Four keeping cakes,
Three boiling hens,
Two chocolate tarts,
And a partridge in a pear tree.”

Tomorrow’s Story …

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Quotation for the Day …

Merry Christmas, Nearly Everybody! Ogden Nash


T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I have certainly leapt often this Christmas, and have been feeling the effects of guilding the lilly. That rum-fustian thing would be quite popular with me and my siblings.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year Janet.

Another group of these drinks was called "Hot-pot", they varied from region to region in composition, but were essentially similar fortified ales. They died out in the begining of the 19th century in most regions, but in Scotland they survied a little longer (where it was called a "het-pint") as a Hogmanay drink.


Anonymous said...

I'm a new reader of your blog and just wanted to say how much I'm enjoying it. Great job! Happy 2008 :)