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Champagne Syllabub

(recipe, Anne Willan)


One historical version of English syllabub involves a unique procedure: a cow is milked directly into a bowl of wine and fruit juice. I always thought this was a joke, but no. At Colonial Williamsburg, the recipe was field-tested with the cooperation of a cow called Hannah, named for the author of the recipe, Hannah Glasse. The warmth and force of the jet of milk, it turns out, helps the syllabub to froth and thicken. To obtain the same result in the kitchen, unpasteurized milk must be warmed and then poured from a height into the wine. The following method of whipping cream together with the wine is much simpler, I am happy to say. The old word syllabub is associated with Sillery, a wine village in the Champagne area of France. It is fun to make syllabub with a sparkling wine, and a modest bottle will do, given the strong background flavorings of lemon and sherry, which should be medium-dry.


  1. ½ cup (125 ml/4 fl. oz.) dry, sparkling white wine
  2. 2 Tbsp. sherry
  3. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  4. ¼ cup (50 mg/1¾ oz.) sugar, plus more if needed
  5. 1 cup (250 ml/8 fl. oz.) heavy cream
  6. 6 stemmed wine syllabub glasses
  7. Grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon, for sprinkling


  1. Mix the wine, sherry, lemon juice, and sugar in a bowl, and stir to partly dissolve the sugar. Beat in the cream using an electric mixer or hand-held balloon whisk, and continue beating until the syllabub thickens enough to hold a soft peak for a few seconds when the whisk is lifted, 10 to 15 minutes. Taste and beat in more sugar if needed.
  2. Spoon the mixture into stemmed glasses, cover, and chill at least 6 hours and up to 3 days. Just before serving, sprinkle the top with nutmeg or cinnamon.