Syllabub was a popular dessert drink in England from the 16th to the mid-19th century. There are a few different ways to make it; in early versions, a cow was milked directly into the mixture to make it foamy.
Since I am lacking a cow, I’ll be making whipped syllabub, a variation from Hannah Glasse’s 1747 book The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy. The whole book is available on archive.org. The full title of her book, by the way, is The Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy: Which Far Exceeds Any Thing of the Kind Ever Yet Published. So modest. So humble.
Syllabub glasses were typically small, with a narrow base and a wider bowl. For whipped syllabubs, a small amount of wine, cider, or whey would be poured into the glass first. Then, the whipped cream would be spooned on top.
Since I don’t have any tiny syllabub glasses, I decided to use absinthe glasses, which have a similar shape but are much larger. I used Riesling wine as the base for my drink, with more Riesling, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar whipped into the cream.
This is delicious. It’s sweet, and lemony, and fluffy; I would eat this as a dessert now, and I can definitely see why it was so popular in the days before ice cream was widely available.
That being said, I can also see why original syllabub glasses were so tiny. The whipped cream was so incredibly rich, I could only finish about half of my giant glass.
I will be making this again – but in much smaller quantities.
Glass, H. (1747). The art of cookery, made plain and easy: Which far exceeds any thing of the kind ever yet published. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/artofcookerymade00glas
Smith, A. (2004). The Oxford encyclopedia of food and drink in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Stead, J. (2003) Georgian Britain. In Brears, P., et al, A taste of history: 10,000 years of food in Britain (pp. 217-261). London: English Heritage, in association with the British Museum Press.