Today I have been sampling braggot. There was a time, about a couple of months ago, when I thought about brewing my own, back in those heady romantic days of unrealistic expectations over my capacity. But luckily, I soon disabused myself of the notion, mainly after talking to a brewer at the wassailing day but also, I have no room for a still. Or whatever it is you need to brew beer.
Anyhow, the braggot. Although today is mostly known as Mid-Lent or Mothering Sunday, it’s also sometimes called Braggot, Bragget, Bragot or Bracket Sunday, after the drink. Braggot is a honeyed ale, a bit like mead, and comes from the Anglo Saxon ‘bragawd’. I was going to combine Braggot Sunday and Mothering Sunday with a pub lunch, but when that option was no longer feasible, I ordered a bottle online. This turned out to be a bit of a mission, but finally I found a bottle of a Tonka Bean Braggot 10%. I’m guessing Tonka beans probably weren’t around when Chaucer referenced braggot in The Miller’s Tale, but I’m all for a bit of updating.
Having quaffed mead in the past, I was expecting my braggot to be pale and ambery, instead out came a dark liquid a bit like Coke. I only poured myself a small snifter which was a good call as even a tiny sip made me hack like I smoked 40 a day. It’s not unpleasant though, and it does warm the throat. I have no idea what Tonka bean is supposed to taste like, but there were definitely hints of vanilla and honey, and honey is the main smell along with a slight Ovaltiney-ness which I’m assuming is the malt.
My snifter remains unfinished and the rest of the bottle will shortly descend the drain, but if you like your liquor a bit weird and worthy of a flagon, you might as well sup of the braggot.
They’re making a break for it. I might have to Heath Robinson some canes before they destroy my blinds.
The Onion Update
SHOOTS! Tiny and out of focus, but SHOOTS!
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books