Honey Syllabub


A British creation dating to the sixteenth century, the syllabub hovers between a thick drink and a dessert. Ours features mead, a honey- and flower-flavored spirit popular in early England; dessert wine such as Sauternes is as delicious.


  • 1 cup cold heavy cream

  • 1 fresh bay leaf

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 6 tablespoons mead

  • teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • Sugared Bay Leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Put 1/2 cup cream and the bay leaf into a small saucepan; cook over medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from heat. Cover, and let steep 30 minutes. Refrigerate until very cold, about 40 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Add mead; whisk until thick and glossy, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl set over an ice-water bath, and whisk occasionally until cool, about 30 minutes.

  3. Put remaining 1/2 cup cream, the bay leaf-infused cream, and nutmeg into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Fold into wine mixture. Refrigerate up to 2 hours. Serve garnished with sugared bay leaves.

Cook's Notes

The egg yolks in this recipe are not fully cooked. It should not be prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised.


Mead, a sweet honey wine, can be found at liquor stores. If you can't find it, use a sweet dessert wine such as Sauternes or Tokay. For a decorative flourish, dip the rims of serving glasses in lemon juice, then in fine sanding sugar.

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