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.
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.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.