Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Trollied Tuesday: Scultheen

You remember my search for a suitably tigerish drink? No, well I'm still looking.

Here's one worthy contender: scultheen. It was a favourite of the Irish Hellfire Club and consisted of whiskey, buttermilk and, for a suitably diabolic touch a dash of brimstone.

Milk can be surprising effective with spirits like brandy, whiskey and – especially – spiced rum, so why not this variant? I like to think of it as a far superior version of Bailey's Irish Cream.

The lurid tales surrounding the hellfire clubs are legion, and most of the occult stuff is greatly exaggerated. Still the stories about figures such as Buck Whaley - who was reputed to have met the Devil in St Audoen's church in Dublin and who certainly did travel to Jerusalem for a bet and played handball against the Wailing Wall – are all highly entertaining. It's certainly an advertisement of sorts for the benefits of scultheen. and Whaley's memoirs look like something that would well repay the time spent reading them.

As for the Hellfire Clubs themselves, this is a good brief guide to the facts and fictions surrounding them. Remember that their primary purpose was to satirise the religious and moral views of the day (it was somewhat underminded by the conventionally aristocratic anti-Catholic strand to much of the thinking, but then the Roman church as always been a worthy adversary). Nonetheless, if even aspire to go against the grain a suitable drink is needed to toast your endeavours – so scultheen it is. Truly the Devil's Buttermilk.

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