Tudor Buttered Beer recipe from 1588

Preparation Time: 15 mins approx
Notes: Modern Adaption: The original recipe from 1588 can also be mellowed (if preferred) … chilled and blended with cold milk it is very enjoyable and it becomes a very tasty drink, tasting of caramel and winter spices – which would appeal to more people  


Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1500 ml (3 bottles) of good quality British ‘Ale’

  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 200g demerara (natural brown) sugar

  • 5 egg yolks (yolks only are needed)

  • 100g unsalted butter (diced)


For The Adapted Chilled Milk Version

  • 1500 ml of chilled buttered beere (made as above).

  • 1500 ml of cold milk to mix with the butter beer



Recipe Method: 

Buttered Beere Ingredients 

Pour the ale into a saucepan carefully (without exciting it too much) and stir in the ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg.

Gently heat this mixture to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer on a low heat – the frothy ale will now clear. If this butter beer is for adults then only simmer it for a few minutes on a low heat, for any younger adults heat the ale like this for 20 minutes at 140C, (use a cook’s or jam thermometer) this will burn off almost all of the alcohol. 

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until light and creamy, you may need to make this drink for the first time and then decide on how sweet you like it, (if it comes out too sweet for you make it again using less sugar next time – however the amount and ratio of sugar stated is from the authentic recipe). 

Once the spiced ale is simmering remove the pan from the heat and add the beaten egg yolk and sugar mixture. 

Stir constantly until it is all mixed in and then return the saucepan to a low heat, until the liquid starts to thicken slightly. Be careful not to let the saucepan get too hot again or the egg yolks will scramble and the sugar burn on the bottom before dissolving. 

Simmer at this low temperature for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes stir in the diced butter on a low heat until it melts. Then froth the Butterbeer mixture with a hand-whisk until it looks like frothy, milky tea.

After ten minutes remove the saucepan from the heat, allow the Buttered Beere to cool, to a warm drinkable temperature, and then give it a final good whisk. 

You can also follow the original Tudor recipe advice and pour the Butterbeer from one serving jug to another serving jug to froth it up. Pour the Butter Beer into a serving jug, small glasses or small tankards, and serve while warm immediately.

Serves: 4-6
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