Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    6 to 8


Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Traced back to a thick, frothy concoction served in Elizabethan England, the term syllabub derives from sille (a French wine) and bub (a bubbling drink) and describes one of the South’s most distinctive beverages/desserts (depending on its consistency). I remember watching my Georgian grandmother beat liquidy syllabub with a whisk for one of her afternoon “cake socials,” but I also recall eating it with a spoon when my parents visited friends in Louisiana and we kids were served syllabub and cookies. (I’ve also seen thick syllabub used as a topping for cakes and fresh fruit.) These days, you don’t see much syllabub, but when you do, it’s usually a spicy drink served with tea cakes or cookies at late-afternoon social get-togethers. I still love it and am convinced that syllabub not only does wonders for a sour stomach but is a sensible way to introduce children to alcoholic beverages.


  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, strained
  • 2 cups sweet white wine, Madeira, or sherry
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • Ground nutmeg, for sprinkling


In a large stainless-steel bowl, combine the lemon juice, wine, and sugar and stir till the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the lemon zest and stir till well blended. Add the half-and-half and beat with an electric mixer till the mixture thickens slightly.

Cover the syllabub with plastic wrap, chill for 30 minutes, pour into a glass bowl, and ladle into punch cups.