Gingerbread Purl

Our Gingerbread Purl is an extra spicy twist on a winter warmer of a veritable vintage - warm ale served with a nip of our gingerbread gin liqueur and seasonal spice.

Purl was by far the most popular of the hot ale drinks of the Victorian period, although its roots can be traced right back to the Middle Ages. Samuel Pepys was known to consume it as a morning beverage or ‘matitudinal’ and Charles Dickens refers to it in a number of stories, most notably Our Mutual Friend:

"The first of these humming compounds [purl] was a speciality of the Porters, which, through an inscription on its door-posts, gently appealed to your feelings as, 'The Early Purl House'. For, it would seem that Purl must always be taken early; though whether for any more distinctly stomachic reason than that, as the early bird catches the worm, so the early purl catches the customer, cannot here be resolved

In any event, it is a tradition that bears some reviving, and let’s face it, this is pretty much the only time of year where we can recommend a matitudinal. This recipe is heavily influenced by Tristan Stephenson’s recipe in the first of his Curious Bartender books, but Convivial Dickens also contains a number of variants to be explored in future posts.

It’s a convivial drink, so the recipe below makes six serves.

Gingerbread Purl

1 litre of ale
200ml gingerbread gin liqueur
150g caster sugar
50g honey
three cloves
two cinnamon sticks
citrus zest

Combine all ingredients in a pan and heat, stirring to dissolve the solids. Ladle directly from the pan into a heatproof glass or mug and garnish with a clove-studded orange slice.

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