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Equal parts of fortified rich wine (usually Port, but also Sherry or Madeira) and boiling water with sugar, lemon, vanilla and nutmeg.

In 1763, James Boswell, having fallen for his Louisa, and and wishing to express his love vigorously, took her to an inn where they ordered "a bowl of negus, very rich of the fruit, which I caused be set in the room as a reviving cordial". Louisa allowed him "full possession of my warmest wishes" and "At last I sunk to rest in her arms and she in mine. I found the negus, which had a fine flavour, very refreshing to me."

James Boswell

Mrs.B, however, recommends it as a drink for children's parties, so that; "the wine need not be very old or expensive ... Allow 1 pint of wine, with the other ingredients in proportion, for a party of 9 or 10 children."

Original Receipt in 'The Book of Household Management', 1861, edited by Isabella Beeton (See Mrs.B)

1835. INGREDIENTS: To every pint of port wine allow 1 quart of boiling water, 1/4 lb. of sugar, 1 lemon, grated nutmeg to taste.
Mode: As this beverage is more usually drunk at children's parties than at any other, the wine need not be very old or expensive for the purpose, a new fruity wine answering very well for it. Put the wine into a jug, rub some lumps of sugar (equal to 1/4 lb.) on the lemon-rind until all the yellow part of the skin is absorbed, then squeeze the juice, and strain it. Add the sugar and lemon-juice to the port wine, with the grated nutmeg; pour over it the boiling water, cover the jug, and, when the beverage has cooled a little, it will be fit for use. Negus may also be made of sherry, or any other sweet white wine, but is more usually made of port than of any other beverage.
Sufficient: - Allow 1 pint of wine, with the other ingredients in proportion, for a party of 9 or 10 children.

Compare with: Dr. Johnson's Choice

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