Prepared by Orlando de Medici for the April 2002 meeting of the Brewers' Guild of Carolingia.

Overview of Caudles

In essence, a caudle is a warm drink made from ale or wine which has been thickened with eggs. However, even such a straightforward definition needs clarification.

That caudles are made from ale or wine I have derived from a survey of the available caudle recipes, all of which I could find call for them. It is possible that in period, caudles were made from other beverages; beer and mead spring to mind as potential candidates. [See 'To Make Buttered Beere' below for an example.] In period, 'ale' referred to unhopped malted grain brews, whereas 'beer' would mean a hopped malted grain brew. I find that the taste of hops does not contribute well to the caudle, and so would recommend using an unhopped ale if you can find it. If you cannot, you can destroy the hops in your beer by simmering it for five minutes.

Not all caudle recipes call for eggs. Some of them thicken the caudle with something else, usually almonds (by drawing an almond milk of the ale or wine). The most plausible reason behind this is that on some days, most notably during Lent, good Christians of the period would have abstained from eating eggs. This is directly supported by some recipes which say they are for Lenten use. Other recipes call for almonds and make no mention of fast days or Lent, but I find it a reasonable assumption that caudles were generally thought of as containing eggs, and the eggless recipes were modifications.

Period Recipes for Caudles

Flemish Caudle

From Le Viandier de Guillaume Tirel dit Taillevent, page 290, #92, as translated by Terrence Scully

Chaudeau Flament: Flemish Caudle. Set a little water to boil; then beat egg yolks, without the whites, mix them with white wine and pour gradually into your water when it has boiled and cooled a little; then boil it again, watching that it does not burn stirring


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white wine
3 egg yolks

Take the water and put it on the fire. Take the egg yolks and beat them. Add the wine to the egg yolks, and beat it some more. When the water boils, take it off the heat, and let it cool a bit, then add the wine mixture into the water, stirring it constantly with a whisk. Heat the combined mixture slowly, stirring constantly. When it starts to boil again, take off the heat, add a dash of salt, stir to dissolve the salt, and serve it forth.


I beat the egg yolks with a hand blender. The result was admirable -- no lumps of any sort. The suggestion was made that a hand blender acheived results better than manual methods would have, and perhaps this would be a different drink if done by hand. We'll try it differently later.

Cawdelle Ferry

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430), p. 15, #47

Cawdelle Ferry. Take yolkys of eyroun Raw, y-tryid fro the whyte; than take gode wyne, and warme it on the potte on a fayre Fyre, an caste ther-on yolkys, and stere it wyl, but let it nowt boyle tylle it be thikke; and caste ther-to Sugre, Safroun, & Salt, Maces, Gelofres, an Galyngale y-grounde smal, & flowre of Canelle; & whan thow dressyst yn, caste blanke pouder ther-on.

Cawdelle de Almaunde.

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430), p. 16, # 51

Cawdelle de Almaunde. Take Raw Almaundys, & grynde hem, an temper hem vp with gode ale, and a lytil Water, and draw it thorw a straynoure in-to a fayre potte, & late it boyle a whyle: & caste ther-to Safroun, Sugre, and Salt, & than serue it forth al hotte in maner of potage.

Cawdel out of Lente

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Harleian MS. 279 (ab. 1430), p. 33, # 150

Take & make a gode mylke of Almaundys y-draw vppe with wyne of Red, whyte is beterre; if it schal be whyte, then strayne yolkys of Eyroun ther-to a fewe. Put ther-to Sugre & Salt, but Sugre y-now; then when it begynneth to boyle, sette it out, & almost flatte; serue it then forth, & euer kepe it as whyte as thou may, & at the dressoure droppe Alkenade ther-on, & serue forth; & if thou wylt haue hym chargeaunt, bynd hym vppe with fflour [of] Rys, other with whetyn floure, it is no fors. And if thou wolt, coloure hym with Safroun, & straw on pouder y-now, & Sugre y-now, & serue f[orth].

Caudell Ffery

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Harleian MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), p. 91

Take rawe yolkes of eyren and trie hem, and bake hem; and take good wyne, and warme hit ouer the fire in a potte, And cast there-to the yolkes, and stere it well, butt lete hit not boyle til hit be thikke; and then caste there-to sugur and salt, and serue hit forth as mortrewes.


From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Harleian MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), p. 96

Take faire tryed yolkes of eyren, and cast in a potte; and take good ale, or elles good syn, a quantite, and sette it ouer the fire / And whan hit is at boyling, take it fro the fire, and caste there-to saffron, salt, Sugur; and ceson hit vppe, and serue hit forth hote.

Caudell de Almondes

From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Harleian MS. 4016 (ab. 1450), p. 96

Take rawe almondes, and grinde hem, And temper hem with goode ale and a litul water; and drawe hem thorgh a streynowr into a faire potte, and lete hit boyle awhile; And cast there-to saffron, Sugur and salt, and serue hit forth hote.


From Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books, Laud MS. 553, p. 113

Caudele. Nym eyren, & sweng wel to-gedere / chauf ale & do therto / lie it with amydon, do therto a porcion of sugur, or a perty of hony, & a perti of safron); boille hit, & 3if hit forth.


The order of events is unclear (which elements of beaten eggs, ale, and almonds are combined & heated in what order). I did not have unhopped ale at hand, but have heard that bringing beer to a boil destroys the hops, so deliberately incorporating that.


3 eggs
1 12-oz beer
3/4 cup ground blanched almonds
1/4 cup honey
a few threads of saffron

Crush the threads of saffron and stand them in a bit of water. Take the beer and the almonds, and put them in a pot. Heat this up to boiling, and reduce to simmer. Simmer some five minutes. Take the eggs and beat them. Take the beer from the fire and cool to 150 degrees, then add the eggs in a thin stream, stirring constantly. Put the beer on the fire, add the honey and saffron with its water, and slowly bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Serve it forth.


I beat the eggs by hand with a whisk, and I was stirring constantly with a whisk, which could not reach all corners of the pot. The corners I could not reach garnered a thick cooked egg nature. The almonds went into suspension as the eggs were so thick. Disappointing. Perhaps when I try this again, I will use a better stirring method, or remove the almonds before adding the eggs.

Kaudel Ferre

From Curye on Inglysch: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century (Including the Forme of Cury), Diuersa Cibaria, p. 45/I, #5

Wyn, amnidoun, reysyns withoute stones to don thrin, sucre vort abaten the streinthe of the wine.

Cawdel Ferry

From Curye on Inglysch: English Culinary Manuscripts of the Fourteenth Century (Including the Forme of Cury), Forme of Cury, p. 107/IV, #43

Take flour of payndemayn and gode wyne, and drawe it togydre; do therto a grete quantite of sugur cypre, or hony claryfied; and do therto safroun. Boile it, and whan it is boiled, alye it vp with yolkes of ayren, and do therto salt, and messe it forth. And lay theron sugar and powdour gynger.

An Almond Caudle

From A Book of Fruits & Flowers 1653, p. 12

Blanch Jordan Lamonds, beat them with a little fmall Ale, and ftryne them out with as much more Ale as your minde to make your Caudle of, then boyle it as you doe an Egg Caudle, with a little Mace in it, and when it is oft the fire fweeten it with Sugar.

To make a Cawdle for restoritie.

From The Complete Receipt Book of Ladie Elynor Fetiplace, Vol 3, p. 4

Take ale & set it on the fire, and scum it, then put in some sugar to it, & stir it togither till it bee cold, inough to drink, then have two eggs ready beaten whites & yolks, altogither, & put into the ale, & boile some reasins of the sun in red wine, the stones pulled out, & when you put your eggs into the ale, strain the iuice of the reasins in with it, & stir it well togither, & so drink a good draught, three mornings togither, fasting.

To make a Caudle

From The Good Housewife's Jewel by Thomas Dawson (c. 1596) with an introduction by Maggie Black, p. 123

Take a pint of malmsey and five or six eggs, and seethe them, strained, together. So sodden, stir it till it be thick. Lay it in a dish as you do please and so serve it.

To Make a Caudle of Oatmeal

From The Good Housewife's Jewel by Thomas Dawson (c. 1596) with an introduction by Maggie Black, p. 123

Take two handfuls or more of great oatmeal and beat it in a stone mortar, well. Then put it into a quart of ale,and set it on the fire and stir it. Season it with cloves, mace, and sugar, beaten, and let it boil till it be enough. Then serve it forth upon sops.


From An Ordinance of Pottage: An Edition of the Fifteent Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163, p. 63, #83

Draw yolkes of eyron thorow a streynour with wyne or with ale, that it be ryght rennyng; put therto sigure, safron, & no salt. Bet well togedyr; set hit on the fyre on clene colys. Stere welle the bottom & then sydy tyl hit be ynowghe scaldyng hote; thu shalle fele be the staffe when hit begynnys to com. Then take hit of and styre alwaey fast, & if be nede, aley hit up with som of the wyne; or yf hit com to hastyly, put hit in hold watyr to myd syd of the pot, & stere hit alwey fast; & serve hit forth.

Caudell Fery

From An Ordinance of Pottage: An Edition of the Fifteent Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163, p. 63, #84

Draw yolkes of eyron thorow a streynour. Take a thyn mylke of almondes drawyn with bastard or with osey or with sweet wyn. Set hit on the fyre; stere hit well. When hit ys at the boylyng, have yolks of eyron in a bolle, drawn thorow a streynour; let wyn thereto, & stere evermore welle of quellyng, tyl hit be aleyed so that hit be stondyng. If ought lef of the wyn, kepe hit. Put thy caudell into the pott, & yf hit be nede, set hit on the fyre, sterying alwey; and make hit nowghte to hote for quellyng. Yf hit be to chargeaunt, aley hit with the remenant of the wyn. Dresse hit as a stondyng pottage, and strew on blaunch poudyr. Thu mayst, yf thu wilt, draw payndemayn & make hit up on the same maner. Or thu maysy, yf thu wilt, set clene wyne at the fyre; & when hit ys at boylyng, have yolkes of eyron drawn thorow a streynour inot a bolle. Put wyne therto, sygure & safron: loke hit be stondyng. Serve hit, & strew on blaunch poudyr.

Caudell of Amondys

From An Ordinance of Pottage: An Edition of the Fifteent Century Culinary Recipes in Yale University's MS Beinecke 163, p. 90, #139

Grynd almondys blanchyd & temper hem up with wyne or with ale, and draw hit thorow a streynour. Do hit in a pott & do to sigure or hony claryfyd & safron, & set hit on the fyre. Stere his will. As sone as hit begynneth to boyle, take his of & serve hit forth, & yf thu wilt, caste a lytyll poudyr of gynger.

Not-Quite-Caudles (but still Informative and Useful)


From An Old Icelandic Medical Miscellany, p. 215, #5, as translated by Henning Larsen

One shall take almond meats and make of them a thick milk and add to that vinegar and wine and boil upon the coals until it thickens. This is as good as sour sheep's milk.


While this probably wasn't considered a caudle, it seems somewhat related, so I include it for reference. And really, how many things are as good as sour sheep's milk? Yum.

To boyle Chickens with a Cawdel.

From The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen, p. 10

Take your chickens when they are fair scalded, and trussed and stuffed with Parslie in their bellies, and put them in a potte with faire water and a litle salte, and put to them twentie Prunes, halfe a handfull of corrans and Raisons, and let them boyle altogether till your chickens bee tender, then take six yolkes, and a pynte of Vinegar, and strain them together, and put thereto a quartern of Sugar, or as yee thinke meete, and so let it boyle, buy you must stirre it stil, else it wil curd: and when it boyleth, take it from the fire: then take your chickens, and put them in a colender, that the broth may goe cleane away, and so put your chickens and the fruite into the cawdell, and make soppes, and lay on your chickens and the fruite, and powre on the cawdell.


This is included for its etymological value. There is no alcohol involved, but there are eggs, which are prepared with vinegar in the usual manner of a caudle, which may indicate that the principal meaning referred to the thickening, rather than the ale/wine base or having a drink as the finished product.

To make Buttered Beere

From The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchen, p. 62

Take three pintes of Beere, put five yolkes of Egges to it, straine them together, and set it in a pewter pot to the fyre, and put to it halfe a pound of Sugar, one penniworth of Nutmegs beaten, one penniworth of Cloves beaten, and a halfepenniworth of Ginger beaten, and when it is all in, take another pewter pot and brewe them together, and set it to the fire againe, and when it is readie to boyle, take it from the fire, and put a dish of sweet butter into it, and brewe them together out of one pot into an other.


This recipe doesn't call itself a caudle, but it certainly follows the overall pattern, except that it uses beer.

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