A cockle-warming tankard of ale and gin, lifted with heady, woody spices and sweetened with sugar. It sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens story – and, indeed, it is.*
This mulled drink was popular in the nineteenth century, and it’s making a resurgence thanks in part to cocktail expert Tristan Stephenson. “Purl happens to be, in my eyes at least, one of the greatest warm winter pick-me-ups ever to grace a bar top,” he says. “Choice spices and herbs combine with malty beer, bitter wormword and the botanical aromatics of gin to form a delicious concoction similar to mulled wine.” Perfect for defrosting the extremities, and soothing the spirit, after a hard day’s Christmas shopping.
* In The Old Curiosity Shop he describes “a great pot, filled with some very fragrant compound, which sent forth a grateful steam, and was indeed choice purl, made after a particular recipe”.