From fara’d Barbadoes, on the western main,
Fetch sugar, ounces four; fetch sack from Spain
A pint; and from the Eastern Indian coast
Nutmeg, the glory of our northern toast;
O’er flaming coals let them together heat,
Till the all-conquering sack dissolve the sweet;
O’er such another fire put eggs just ten,
New-born from tread of cock and rump of hen;
Stir them with steady hand and conscience pricking,
To see th’ untimely end of ten fine chicken:
From shining shelf take down the brazen skellet,
A quart of milk from gentle cow will fill it;
When boil’d and cold, put milk and sack to eggs,
Unite them firmly like the triple league,
And on the fire let them together dwell
Till miss sing twice—you must not kiss and tell:
Each lad and lass take up a silver spoon,
And fall on fiercely like a starv’d dragoon.
SIR FLEETWOOD FLETCHER’S SACK POSSET.
Posset, it seems, is a medicated drink of some antiquity; for among the numerous English authors who in some way or other speak of it, our immortal Bard Shakspeare has made one of his characters say, “We’ll have a Posset at the latter end of a sea coal fire.” And Sir John Suckling, who died in 1641, says, in one of his poems, “In came the bridemaids with the Posset.” Dr. Johnson describes Posset to be milk curdled with wine and other acids; we may therefore with propriety infer, that the White Wine Whey so common in Oxford is the Milk Posset of our forefathers.
WHITE WINE WHEY (OR MILK POSSET).
Put one pint of milk into a saucepan, and when it boils pour into it one gill of white wine; boil it till the curd becomes hard, then strain it through a fine sieve; rub a few knobs of loaf sugar on the rind of a lemon, put them into the Whey; grate a small quantity of nutmeg into it; sweeten it to your taste, and it is fit for use.
The more to promote perspiration, whole pepper is sometimes boiled in the Whey, but all-spice is far preferable. A Pepper Posset was known to the learned and ingenious John Dryden, as will appear by the following lines written by him;
A sparing diet did her health assure;
Or sick, a pepper posset was her cure.
Pound the peeling of a lemon in a mortar, pour on it one quart of fresh drawn cider; sweeten it with double refined sugar, add one gill of brandy, and one quart of milk from the cow, stir it well together, strain it through a fine hair sieve or a flannel bag, then grate a nutmeg into it, and it is tit for use.
Is prepared in the same way, excepting that perry (pear cider) is used instead of (apple) cider.
There are other Possets, which have milk for their basis, in use in different parts of the country, such, for instance, as Treacle Beer and Orange Posset; but as they are seldom if ever made in Oxford, it is not necessary that anything further should be said of them.
The following have an affinity to, and possibly derive their origin from, Sir Fleetwood Fletcher’s Sack Posset.
RUM BOOZE (OR EGG POSSET / EGG FLIP).
The yolks of eight eggs well beaten up, with some refined sugar pulverized, and a grated nutmeg; extract the juice from the rind of a lemon by rubbing loaf sugar on it; put the sugar, a piece of cinnamon, and a bottle of white wine, into a clean saucepan; when the wine boils take it off the fire; pour one glass of cold white wine into it, put it into a spouted jug, and pour it gradually among the yolks of eggs, &c. keeping them well stirred with a spoon as the wine is poured in; if not sweet enough, add a small quantity of loaf sugar; then pour the mixture as swift as possible from one vessel to the other until a fine white froth is obtained. Half a pint of rum is sometimes added, but it is then very intoxicating. Port wine is sometimes substituted for white, but is not considered so palatable. This liquor should be drank when quite hot. If the wine is poured boiling hot among the eggs, the mixture will become curdled.
* It is sometimes denominated Egg Flip.
Beer flip is made the same way and with the same materials as the preceding, excepting that one quart of strong homebrewed beer is substituted for the wine; a glass of gin is sometimes added, but it is better without it. This beverage is generally given to servants at Christmas, and other high festivals of our Church.
The yolks of twelve eggs, one quart of strong beer, one bottle of white wine, half a pint of gin, a grated nutmeg, the juice from the peeling of a lemon, a small quantity of cinnamon, and sufficient sugar to sweeten it; prepared precisely in the same way as Rum Booze. Such is the intoxicating property of this liquor, that none but hard drinkers will venture to regale themselves with it a second time.