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A caudle is a British thickened and sweetened alcoholic hot drink, somewhat like eggnog. It was popular in the Middle Ages for its supposed medicinal properties.

The OED cites the use of the word to 1297. The earliest surviving recipe, from 1300–1325, is simply a list of ingredients: wine, wheat starch, raisins, and sugar to "abate the strength of the wine".[1] Another recipe from the late 14th century has more ingredients and more details on the cooking procedure: mix breadcrumbs, wine, sugar or honey, and saffron, bring to a boil, then thicken with egg yolks, and sprinkle with salt, sugar, and ginger. [2] [3] A 15th-century English cookbook includes three caudle recipes: ale or wine is heated and thickened with egg yolks and/or ground almonds, then optionally spiced with sugar, honey, saffron, and/or ginger (one recipe specifically says "no salt"). [4] A related recipe for skyr appears in the early 13th century. [5]

In a description of an initiation ceremony at Merton College, Oxford in 1647, caudle is described as a "syrupy gruel with spices and wine or ale added".[6]


The word caudle came into Middle English via the Old North French word caudel, ultimately derived from Latin caldus, "warm".[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Item 5, Diuersa Cibaria, BL MS Add. 46919 ff, 19r-24v, reprinted in Hieatt & Butler, Curye on Inglysch, Early English Text Society 1985, ISBN 0-19-722409-1, p. 45
  2. ^ Item 43, Forme of Cury, various mss, reprinted in Curye on Inglysch, Early English Text Society 1985, ISBN 0-19-722409-1
  3. ^ See also Thomas Austin, Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery Books, Early English Text Society 1888.
  4. ^ Items 83, 84, 139, Yale MS Beinecke 163, reprinted in Constance Hieatt, An Ordinance of Pottage, Prospect Books 1988, ISBN 0-907325-38-6
  5. ^ Grewe and Hieatt, Libellus de arte coquinaria: an Early Northern Cookery Book, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies v. 222, 2001, ISBN 0-86698-264-7
  6. ^ Olmert, Michael (1996). Milton's Teeth and Ovid's Umbrella: Curiouser & Curiouser Adventures in History, p.174. Simon & Schuster, New York. ISBN 0-684-80164-7.
  7. ^ Harper, Douglas. "Online Etymology Dictionary: caudle". Retrieved 21 November 2012.