Lambs Wool or Gossip Bowl (Georgian period)

A version of mulled ale (also used for wassailing). Traditionally served with Whigs or Wigs that were dipped into the Lamb’s Wool. Used for general get-togethers and less formal gatherings, especially at times of celebration (Christmas, Easter etc). Made by roasting apples, then boiling up ale, cider and spices, mixing it all together and then straining it through a sieve. Served hot.

According to The Cook’s Oracle by Dr William Kitchener (1827):
........Before our readers make any remarks on this composition, we beg them to taste it; if the materials are good, and their palate vibrates in unision with our own, they will find it one of the pleasantest beverages they ever put to their lips, - and, as Lord Ruthven says, “this is a Right Gossip Cup, that exceeds all the Ale that ever Mother Bunch made in her life-time.”.........


4 eating apples

¼ teaspoon each of:-

  • mixed spice
  • freshly ground nutmeg
  • ground cinnamon
2 pints beer (I used Theakston's Old Peculiar)
1 pint dry cider
50g soft dark brown sugar
1 strip of lemon peel


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Slit the skin round the centre of the apple (crab apples can be used if available). Put in a roasting dish and bake until soft and pulpy (approx 30mins).
  3. Put the ale, wine, spices and lemon rind into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Then simmer for 5 mins.
  4. Remove the apple flesh from the skins and core, then mash.
  5. Stir the apple pulp into the mixture and allow it to simmer for a minute or two.
  6. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture through a sieve, pressing the pulp down to remove as much of the liquid as possible.
  7. Reheat and add the sugar and stir until dissolved.


Eating apples