I know. That doesn’t sound the least bit appetizing. Things called negus don’t sound edible. This is actually a drink, but it doesn’t sound overly drinkable either. I got the idea to make negus based on a couple of Outlander references. Claire is served iced negus in Written in my Own Heart’s Blood and Minnie enjoys a glass in the short story, A Fugitive Green. Negus is also mentioned in works from Austen, Dickens, and Bronte, among others, and was a popular drink in the 18th and 19th centuries. The original drink was a diluted version of a Bishop that was reportedly created by Colonel Francis Negus some time before his death in 1732.
According to Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management of 1861, negus was a punch most often served at children’s parties and her recipe is fairly diluted but still contains a pint of port. So I guess that kids’ parties were a little different back then. Adults were probably imbibing something a little more grown up than this mix of port (or sherry or sweet white wine), water, sugar, lemon, and spices, served hot. It sounds delightful to me, a little sweet perhaps, but certainly any cousin of mulled wine can’t be bad.
For this iced version, I used a white port style wine from a Michigan winery. Michigan excels at sweet wines (and non-sweet wines, for that matter) and the the lighter profile of this wine goes perfectly with an iced, summery cocktail. All the recipes I found were for large batches, which makes sense given the “party punch” intentions, but I just wanted a glass for me. I did some calculations and came up with the following proportions. The beautiful thing is that you can absolutely adjust every ingredient to your taste. So, use this as a guideline more than a hard and fast recipe.
A lovely summer sipper
- 3 oz port, port style wine, or sweet white wine of your choice
- 6 oz water
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 dash ground nutmeg
- 1 dash ground cinnamon
Bring the water and sugar to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Add port and lemon juice to cooled sugar water.
Pour over ice.
Garnish with nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon zest.
To save time, you can use simple syrup instead of boiling the sugar and water, but it will be sweeter, so be sure to adjust accordingly.
~This post contains affiliate links that will open in new windows. If you buy from these links, I may earn a small commission.~