Custom demised: Braggot Sunday

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T. F. Thistleton-Dwyer’s 1875 British Popular customs present and past sort of spiced ale called Braggot, Bragget, or Braggat, was used in many parts of Lancashire on these visits of relations, whence the day was called Braggot Sunday.

Minsheu in his 1617 Ductor in Linguas tells us that Braggot is composed of two Welsh words. Brag, malt, and Gots, honeycombs. In Ben Jonson’s masque of the metamorphosised gipsies 1605 has the following lines:

“And we have serv’d there, armed all in ale, With the brown bowl, and charg’d in bragged ale.”

Robert Nares, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, Thomas Wright 1859 A glossary; or collection of words, phrases, names and allusions to customs, proverbs, etc., which have been thought to require illustration in the works of English authors, particularly of Shakespeare, and his contemporaries notes the recipe for making bragget:

 “Take three or four gallons of good ale, or more as you please, two dayes or three after it is densed, and put it into a pot by itselfe ; then draw forth a pottle thereof, and put to it a quart of good English honey, and set them over the fire in a vessell, and let them boyle faire and softly, and alwayes as any froth ariseth skumme it away, and so clarifie it, and when it is well clarified, take it off the fire and let it coole, and put thereto of pepper a pennyworth, cloves, mace, ginger, nutmegs, cinamon, of each two pennyworth, beaten to powder, stir them well together, and set them over the fire to boyle againe awhile, then bring milke warme, put it to the reste, and stirre all together, and let it stand two or three dales, and put barme upon it, and drink it at your pleasure.”

Despite a small mention on some website and apparently a brand of braggot ale being available as well as the detailed method Braggot ale it does not appear to have been revived as a culinary experience. Perhaps the quote by Liza Frank on her blog on folklore may suggest why:

“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.”

Sakiskiu Alus - Tonka Bean Braggot

So alternative name for Mothering Sunday as Braggot Sunday has been forgotten by many and does look like being revived soon!

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