Treacle Cocktail? Off With Your Head!

Treacle Cocktail? Off With Your Head!

Any aficionado of Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) is certainly familiar with the timeless classic tales he penned; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the sequel, Through the Looking Glass. I wondered as a child while reading Chapter VII, “A Mad Tea-Party”, what was treacle and why would it make one ill?

“The Dormouse slowly opened his eyes. `I wasn’t asleep,’ he said in a hoarse, feeble voice: `I heard every word you fellows were saying.’

`Tell us a story!’ said the March Hare.

`Yes, please do!’ pleaded Alice.

`And be quick about it,’ added the Hatter, `or you’ll be asleep again before it’s done.’

`Once upon a time there were three little sisters,’ the Dormouse began in a great hurry; `and their names were Elsie, Lacie, and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well–‘

`What did they live on?’ said Alice, who always took a great interest in questions of eating and drinking.

`They lived on treacle,’ said the Dormouse, after thinking a minute or two.

`They couldn’t have done that, you know,’ Alice gently remarked; `they’d have been ill.’

`So they were,’ said the Dormouse; `very ill.’ “

Treacle is not what I had childishly imagined (for some reason I had visions of a greenish brown algae-like substance). Rather it’s a brown sugar liquid byproduct (syrup) of refined sugar. Golden syrup treacle is a common sweetener used in British desserts such as treacle tart and treacle sponge pudding. (And, yes, Alice. You were wise beyond your years in comprehending that a diet composed solely of sugar would most certainly be bad for one’s health!) Dark treacle is a syrup variety also known as molasses.

But, how about a treacly cocktail or two for some Halloween spirit? And just two will do from the looks of this traditional Cornish fisherman’s holiday cocktail:  the Mahogany.  Happy Halloween sipping!
Mahogany Cocktail


1 part dark treacle (molasses)

2 parts gin


Measure ingredients into mule mug or highball glass.

Stir lightly

Add ice

Top with a spring of mint or lemon rind.


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