Victorian Cooking

Victorian Cookbook: Egg-Hot, a Victorian Pick-me-up.

An egg-hot was supposed to make you feel better on a cold winter’s night. Mrs. Macawber and David Copperfield drink them when David needs comforting, and the ingredients sound spicy and Dickensian. As Victorian as a drink could possibly be.

Mrs. Micawber looking a bit rough. To be fair, it was probably a very hard life.

You will need:

1 bottle of ale/stout
1 egg
1 1/2 tsps butter (Except don’t. Just don’t.)
1 tbsp of sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg

Victorian recipes for this drink vary. They don’t all include the butter and my advice is to leave it out or use less. You’ll see why.

This is what you do:

Put the sugar, spices, and most of the ale in a saucepan. The butter, too, if you’re using it. Again, and I can’t emphasise this enough, DON’T.

The sugar, spices, and…butter.

Heat it slowly.

Beat the egg in a bowl or large mug, then add some of the remaining cold ale/stout. Temper the egg mix by stirring in spoonfuls of the warm ale mixture one at a time.

They should end up looking like the picture below or a little darker.

Tempered egg mixture

Pour the beery eggs and remaining cold ale into the saucepan and, stirring continuously, heat the contents until they’re about to come to a boil.

That’s it. Your egg-hot is ready. It will smell like sweet hops and cinnamon. The very sight will comfort you.

But then you taste it…


Okay, that’s clearly too much butter. You can see that just by looking. Perhaps cream would work better. Didn’t Julia Child once say “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream”? And I am afraid of butter. Very, very afraid.

Nevertheless, despite the oil-slick on the surface, I had high hopes for the taste.

The Verdict:

This was so nearly good. I almost like it. Buttery residue aside, there were lots of good flavours. I’m just not sure I like them together.

But I’m not a beer drinker, so I decided to ask Mr. Bennet (who is one) for his thoughts.

I wish I’d taken a photo of his little face when he tasted it, but his expression was not dissimilar to this:


Mr. B’s comments: “There’s lots of familiar flavours but they’re all in the wrong place. It’s…eggy. I can taste the egg. It..reminds me of something. It’s… it’s…not…good.”

We ended up wishing it was eggnog instead and I’m sad to say…we threw both drinks down the sink.

But…I feel like maybe this is a case of the right drink for the wrong people. David Copperfield liked it. Dickens liked it (probably). Maybe you will, too.

Just don’t include the butter.

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