caudles-art - 11/21/97
A medieval drink of warm, seasoned wine or beer thickened with eggs.
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Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy at abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>
Subject: sca-cooks Re: Hot Drinks
To: sca-cooks at eden.com
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 11:05:48 -0400 (EDT)
A basic caudle would be something like this:
I have a lovely caudle that I redacted a year or so ago.... let me post it
here. A note: I commented that I disagreed with Ms. Renfrow in her
published caudle recipe. She and I corresponded with each other, and cited
contradictory sources... and while I still disagree with her, I am no longer
prepared to say she was in error: just that we have come to different
Caudles are warm seasoned wine or beer, thickened with eggs. Of course,
during the Lenten season (from Ash Wednesday until Easter), dairy, eggs
and meat animals were forbidden from consumption. Frequently, many
conventional receipts from the period have Lenten substitutions using
almond milk. The Harleian Manuscripts have two beer caudle recipes that
use almonds. While some of the other caudle receipts that use almonds
state they are for Lenten use, these two beer caudles do not. I still
believe it is a safe assumption. I chose to redact those, since I cannot
consume whole eggs.
Caudles were popular and receipts for caudles appear in the Harleian
Manuscripts (my source), manuscripts in the possession of the Royal Society,
Liber Cure Curcorum, Le Viandier, A Noble Boke of Cookery, and The Good
Husvvifes Iewell. There may be other sources. Hot alcoholic beverages such
as syllabubs and possets, as well as sack, toddies and others were also
I used a hopped beer for this receipt. Those of you that are not also
brewers might not be aware that hopped beer was a relatively late period
invention. However, with a bit of effort it can be documented to the time
and place of the original receipt. For example, the German Beer Purity law,
the Rhineheitsgebot (which lists the four ingredients of beer: water, malt,
hops and yeast) was drafted in the early 14th century. I think that hopped
beer would be acceptable, although an unhopped ale (much harder to find)
would probably be better.
In the period, ale was unhopped malt brew, and beer was hopped malt brew.
In the modern era, the terms mean something else altogether, describing
whether yeast settles to the bottom, or floats to the top, and just about
all of them are hopped. The original of this recipe call for ale.
Caudle seems to have been a recipe for comforting: a caudle receipt in
"The Good Husvvifes Iewell" (Thomas Dawson, 1596) is one called "To Make a
Caudle to Comfort the Stomacke, Good For An Old Man" (of ale, Muscadine wine,
eggs and mace). My dictionary (and a footnote in Renfrow, 1991, vol 2, page
320) imply that the term coddle (pamper) could be derived from the word
I would note that Renfrow's book "A Sip Through Time" has a redaction for
caudle: I believe she skipped a step. The original calls for tempering the
almonds with the ale, and then straining them out. I took this to mean
mixing the almonds with warm ale, and letting it sit for a while (or even a
light heating, which I did not do.) She immediately has the almonds
strained out. I suspect that gives you wet almonds, and no almond flavor
in the resulting caudle.
I had a bit too much of my home-brewed beer on hand, and so I made some
caudle for the Wassail at the Canton of the Towers meeting this AS XXX.
Although "warm beer" was not well received, those who drank the "caudle"
liked it quite a bit. It was universally considered to be a bit
oversweetened, so I will include both the actual redaction used, and my
suggestion for a reduction. I added almonds according to the usual ratio I
use for almond milk.
The caudle was very well received: I intend to bring a large amount to the
next event here locally, and try it out on more people. It has a nice almond
flavor, and not much of a beer taste. People who generally dislike beer
found it pleasant, and of course my fellow beer drinkers liked it too. I
would urge you to try it.
Harleian MS 279 - Potage Dyvers (circa 1420)
lj. Cawdelle de Almaunde. Take Raw Almaundys, & grynde hem, an temper
hem up with gode ale, and a lytil Water, and a lytil Water, and draw
it (th)row a straynoure in-to a fayre potte, and late it boyle a
whyle: & caste (th)er-to Safroun, Sugre, and Salt, & then serue it
forth al hotte in maner of potage.
Harleian MS 4016 (circa 1450)
129 Caudell de Almondes. Take rawe almondes, and grined hem, And temper
hem with goode ale and a litul water; and drawe hem thorgh a
streynour into a faire potte, and let hit boyle awhile; And cast
there-to saffroun, Sugur and salt, and serue hit forth hote.
2 quarts of Nut Brown Ale. (Any darker beer or ale would do).
2 cups of water.
4 cups ground almonds.
2 cups sugar (I'd reduce to 1.5 cups next time).
pinch of saffron, and salt to grind it in.
Food processor. Cheesecloth
Wooden spoon Strainer
Ladle Inert pot (stainless steel or enamel)
Glass or plastic container. Mortar and pestle (saucer & back of a spoon.)
I ground the almonds coarsely in a food processor. Leave them large enough
that they can be strained out. I poured the warm beer into a container,
added the almonds, and let it sit for several hours. The container must be
inert: plastic or glass, and not aluminum. I used a Tupperware-style
I used a strainer and cheesecloth to remove the almonds from the liquid.
I added the liquid to a large (inert) pot, and let it heat slowly, adding
the sugar and spices. When it produced a good head of foam, it was ready
to serve. (If you use a heavy pot, note that it retains heat: keep an
eye on it, since the foam rises FAST.)
Judging from it's affect on people, I feel confident that most of the
alcohol was removed in the preparation. Nevertheless, please use caution
when offering caudle to people: alcoholics and teetotalers may not be aware
of it's ingredients.
Brewers note: Alcoholic beverages can react with aluminum containers. I urge
you use wood, plastic, glass or stainless steel.
Possets, Caudles, Syllabubs and other drinks of the Medieval and
Renaissance Period: Edited by Marian Walke, 1985. Boston MA, Private
A Sip Through Time: Cindy Renfrow, 1995, Private Printing.
Take A Thousand Eggs or More: Cindy Renfrow, 1991, Private Printing.