- Food & Drink
A few weeks ago on Twitter (you can follow me here) there was a discussion on whether or not you can mull gin. This is a silly question, because I can mull anything and at the end of some Christmas parties, I’ve tried to. The conversation sparked a memory of the Supersizer’s Go Victorian, when they drank Dog’s Nose – a mix of gin, cold beer and warm beer.
That sounded like a start for mulling gin but mixing cold and warm beers is a bad idea. Unless your beer has been heated until it’s a seething mass of volcanic lava (losing precious booze), adding cold beer to it is going to result in a lukewarm drink. More research threw up a load of cocktail websites that suggest adding a shot of gin to a pint; a great start to a Saturday night but not very mully. Fortunately Cedric Dickens – the great-grandson of Charles – wrote Drinking With Dickens, a useful guide to getting drunk just like one of Dickens’ cor blimey characters.
The Dog’s Nose appears in The Pickwick Papers, alongside a warning: “Mr Walker, a convert to the Brick Lane branch of the United Grand Junction Ebenezer Temperance Association, thought that tasting Dog’s Nose twice a week for 20 years had lost him the use of his right hand.”
Sounds like my kind of drink. The notes on the book came with a recipe for Dog’s Nose, which I’ve adapted a little. The base is English porter, a type of dark beer that’s still made by Fullers, Curious Brew and St Peter’s Brewery. If you can’t find porter, use Irish stout, like Guinness, instead.
3 tsp soft light brown sugar
Nutmeg, to taste
1 Pour the porter and gin into a small pan and add the sugar. Grate in about 1/8 of a nutmeg. Gently heat until it is steaming hot. Taste and add more sugar and nutmeg if needed. Serve in a heatproof glass.
It’s a warming, spicy mix of sweet and bitter that conjures up roaring fires, candle-lit pubs, plush cushions, thick coats and vomit. Not that it tastes of vomit per se, but there is a definite future echo of it. Every mouthful is a warning of what will happen on later that evening if you insist on sticking to the Dog’s Noses. It’s a warning you can listen to, or you can demand more gin in your beer. I know what I’d do.