It’s common knowledge that beers are best served cold, but back in the day, drinks like the “Bishop” (a pitcher of beer mulled with a clove-studded orange) the “Crabapple Lambswool” (beer mixed with sherry and a handful of apples) and even a warm, spiced beer with a pat of butter on top kept beer drinkers warm through the cold winter months.
Nowadays, brewers target the winter beer drinker by releasing special brews that are flavored with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and clove, but these hearty variations are still intended to be enjoyed cold, and won’t do much to warm a cold body.
To find out if there are any modern beer drinks that involve warm beer and actually taste good, William Bostwick at BonAppetit.com tested out a few recipes. After trying (and being disappointed by) mulled beer (Anchor Porter simmered with sliced lemon, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom) and what’s called a ‘flip’ (mugs of beer boiled on the spot with a white-hot iron poker) he stumbled upon a drink that he actually liked: a flip variation called ‘ale sangaree’.
To make an ale sangaree, just dissolve a spoonful of bar sugar in a little hot water in a mug, fill the mug with ale, grate nutmeg over the top and serve.
According to William,
It was delicious. The nutmeg added a sweet, cidery tingle; the warm porter, sugared and watered down, was soothing and rich, not bitter at all. A perfect winter drink, and easy to make with cold fingers.
Sounds good to me!
Next time you’re feeling the winter chill set it, maybe it’s time to give the ale sangaree a try…