Ale mixed with the jelly or minced meat of a boiled cock, typically with fruits and spices.
Captain Grose's 1811 'Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue' simply defines Cock Ale as "A provocative drink." Nare's Glossary of 1856 give a bit more detail: "COCK ALE A sort of ale which was very celebrated in the seventeenth century for its superior quality but the exact meaning of the term is not clear." and adds that 'The London Spy' of 1698 had; "My friend by this time knowing the entertainment of the house had call d for a bottle of cock ale of which I tasted a glass but could not conceive it to be any thing but a mixture of small beer and treacle If this be cock ale said I, then let cocks combs drink it"
Original Receipt in 'The Closet Of Sir Kenelm Digby Knight, Opened ' (Digby 1669)
To make Cock-Ale: Take eight gallons of Ale, take a Cock and boil him well; then take four pounds of Raisins of the Sun well stoned, two or three Nutmegs, three or four flakes of Mace, half a pound of Dates; beat these all in a Mortar, and put to them two quarts of the best Sack: and when the Ale hath done working, put these in, and stop it close six or seven days, and then bottle it, and a month after you may drink it
Original Receipt from 'The Complete Housewife: Or, Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion', by E Smith, 1766
To make Cock Ale
Take ten gallons of ale and a large cock the older the better. Parboil the cock slay him and stamp him in a stone mortar till his bones are broken, you must craw and gut him when you slay him then put the cock into two quarts of sack, and put to it three pounds of raisins of the sun, stoned, some blades of mace and a few cloves, put all these into a canvas bag and a little before you find the ale has done working put the ale and bag together into a vessel in a week or nine days time bottle it up, fill the bottle but just above the neck and give it the same time to ripen as other ale.
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