Jane Austen’s Negus

Jane Austen recipes _Negus_page

In every issue of BBC History Magazine, picture editor Sam Nott brings you a recipe from the past.

This mulled wine, created by Colonel Francis Negus (d.1732), was served at the balls in Mansfield Park and The Watsons, and was often offered to guests before their chilly journey home. By Victorian times it was thought to be the thing for children’s birthday parties! This version is safer served to adults.

Serves 16-20

1 x 25 fl oz/75cl bottle of port
25 fl oz/750 ml water
1–2 tbsp brown sugar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
About 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Optional extra spices:
1 cinnamon stick and/or 8 whole cloves
Segments of orange and lemon, to serve


[1] Put the water in a saucepan and add the lemon zest, a tablespoon of sugar and the spices. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer very gently for 10–15 minutes. Add the lemon juice

[2] Strain, return to the saucepan and reheat. Add the port; taste it, and add a little more sugar if you like. Pour in the port and heat very gently to serving temperature. Put slices of lemon and/or orange into glasses before pouring in the Negus — or serve it from a pitcher (jug)