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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] 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".[2]


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.[3][4] 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").[5] William Carew Hazlitt provides a number of recipes for caudles and possets in his book, Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine.[6]

A related recipe for skyr appears in the early 13th century.[7]


The word caudle came into Middle English via the Old North French word caudel, ultimately derived from Latin caldus, "warm".[8]

See also[edit]