In my latest Tudor Cooking with Claire video I've made a recipe from Thomas Dawson's 1594 book The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin which presumably was the inspiration for the drink butterbeer in the Harry Potter books. I think it would make a great alternative to mulled wine at a Christmas party or for sitting in front of the fire with on a cold, dark evening.
Here is the recipe from Dawson's book:
“To make Buttered Beere.
Take three pintes of Beere, put fiue yolkes of Egges to it, straine them together, and set it in a pewter pot to the fyre, and put to it halfe a pound of Sugar, one penniworth of Nutmegs beaten, one penniworth of Cloues beaten, and a halfepenniworth of Ginger beaten, and when it is all in, take another pewter pot and brewe them together, and set it to the fire againe, and when it is readie to boyle, take it from the fire, and put a dish of sweet butter into it, and brewe them together out of one pot into an other.”
You can read Dawson's book at http://www.staff.uni-giessen.de/gloning/ghhk/
http://oakden.co.uk/buttered-beere-1588/ have modernised this recipe, although they state that it is from 1588 when the publication date appears to actually be 1594.
1500 ml (3 bottles) of good quality British ‘ale’
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
200g demerara (natural brown) sugar
5 egg yolks (yolks only are needed)
100g unsalted butter (diced)
Pour the ale into a saucepan carefully.
Add the spices and gently bring the mixture to a boil then turn down and simmer on a low heat. The ale will now clear.
For adults, simmer for just a few minutes. If you're going to serve it to children then heat for 20 minutes at 140 degrees C to boil off the alcohol. Use a sugar or jam thermometer.
Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks and brown sugar until light and creamy.
Once the spiced ale is simmering remove from the heat and add the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Stir constantly until it is all mixed in and then return the saucepan to a low heat, until the liquid starts to thicken slightly.
Don't let it get too hot or the eggs will scramble and the sugar will catch on the bottom of the pan. Simmer at this low temperature for 5 minutes.
Stir in the diced butter and heat on a low heat until the butter melts.
Froth the mixture with a whisk until it looks like frothy, milky tea.
After ten minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool to a warm drinkable temperature. Then whisk or pour from one jug to another to froth it up.
Serve in glasses or tankards while still warm.
The Oakden website also gives a chilled variation which they believe to be more appealing as it a more gentle taste to the original. It's equal amounts of chilled buttered beere and cold milk blended together and frothed up.