Purl & Absinthe Beer

William Hogarth

Purl

Roman Wormwood, two dozen,
Gentian root: 6 lb,
Sweetflag root: 2 lb,
Galanga root: 1-2 lb,
Horseradish: 1 bunch,
Dried orange peel from the Indies: 2 lb,
Juniper berries: 2 lb,
Seville orange seeds, dried: 2 lb,

Cut and bruise all the ingredients, put in a butt, top up with pale or mild ale. Store for one season.

Source: Thomas Threale’s The complete family-brewer, or, The best method of brewing or making any quantity of good strong ale & small-beer.London (1802)

Purl- Royal is a a wine infusion & there is some historical confusion over the terms. Here is the recipe for Purl-Royal:

Take cyder and order it as directed, but colour it not; put a gallon to 20 of right white or Rhenish wine; then strip a pound of Roman wormwood clean from the stalks; when it is well dryed, put it in a canvas bag, and by a thread let in hang in the liquid to the middle 12 or 14 days; and by such an infusion it will give it a pleasing colour and taste, so that it will add a curious flavour to such wines as it shall be mixed withal; but if you want worm-wood wine, and are in a haste for it, get some chymical drops of spirit of worm-wood, and 3 or 4 in a quart is sufficient, striking or shaking the pot or bottle, that it may kindly mix.

Accomplish’d Female Instructor (1710)

An interesting home brew for absinthe beer can be found on Scotty’s latest blog post here. I think this would make a great winter drink or how about serving it for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Leif’s wormwood ale will feature later, hopefully with some clarification of the history of purl. If anyone has any information please post in the comments section.

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