Buttered Beere

Buttered beere_page

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings a recipe from the past. In this article, Sam recreates buttered beere – a sweet, slightly alcoholic drink that warmed the cockles in Tudor times.

This is an authentic Tudor recipe from 1588, taken from “The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin”. It’s similar to a caudle, a drink of warm wine or ale with sugar, eggs and spices, renowned for its medicinal properties and popular at the same period.

Sam Nott writes: I love mulled wines and ciders, so the idea of this drink really appealed to me. The smells wafting through my kitchen while I was making it were delicious, though the drink itself was a bit, well, ‘robust’ – great when you’ve just come inside on a cold winter’s day, but for ordinary drinking a bit too heavy for me. My partner loved it, though – he drank the lot!

1,500 ml (3 bottles) of good-quality ale
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground nutmeg
200 g demerara or other natural brown sugar
5 egg yolks
100 g unsalted butter, chopped into small lumps


[1] Pour the ale gently into a large saucepan and stir in the ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the ale clears.

[2] While the ale is simmering, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and creamy. Remove the spiced ale from the hob, add the egg yolk and sugar mixture, and stir until all ingredients are well blended.

[3] Return to a low heat until the liquid starts to thicken, taking care not to overheat.

[4] Simmer for five minutes, add the chopped butter and heat until it has melted. Hand-whisk the liquid until it becomes frothy.

[5] Continue to heat for 10 minutes, then allow to cool to a drinkable temperature. Give the mixture another  whisk, serve into a jug or small glasses (or tankards!) and drink while still warm.