The Bath Syllabub
Originating in 16th-century England, the syllabub was initially renowned as a delightful and frothy beverage enjoyed by the aristocracy. This charming concoction consisted of a harmonious blend of sweetened sack wine or beer with the addition of full cream milk and whipped to perfection until it formed a light, ethereal froth.
It became a symbol of refinement and sophistication, often gracing the tables of noble gatherings and celebrations as well as here in Bath. From the 16th century and the Tudor period through the following eras of the Stuarts, Georgians, Victorians to the modern day the syllabub has evolved while keeping its unique qualities at the heart of the dessert and drink.
King Charles II himself was known to relish the pleasures of syllabub, finding it so delicious that he kept cows at the palace in case he got a hankering for some “Hatted Kit” as he referred to it – he would walk up to one and squirt some milk into his flagon of wine, sack or cider.
As time marched on, the syllabub underwent a fascinating transformation, gradually transitioning from a cherished beverage to a delectable dessert. In the 18th century, during the Georgian era, the celebrated English novelist Jane Austen made reference to this luscious treat in her literary works such as Lesley Castle.
Descriptions of elegant soirées and refined gatherings at the time often included the indulgence of syllabub, showcasing its enduring appeal as both a drink and a dessert. The delightful balance of cream, wine, and subtle flavorings like vanilla and citrus captivated the taste buds of the social elite, solidifying the syllabub's place in culinary history.
Some of the more captivating accounts of the syllabub comes from the famous diarist Samuel Pepys, who chronicled his life in 17th-century England. Pepys documented his experiences with this ambrosial concoction, providing insights into the widespread popularity of syllabub among the common folk.
The evolution of syllabub from a courtly libation to a cherished dessert mirrors the changing tastes and social dynamics of England through the centuries, creating a rich tapestry of history and flavour that we now celebrate in this unique blend of sherries, vanilla, and lemon in our modern interpretation of the classic syllabub.
You can get the Bath Syllabub exclusively from Independent Spirit of Bath here.