A Boke of Gode Cookery Presents
How to Cook Medieval


Liquid was used in the medieval kitchen in two important ways, to both cook with and to serve as drink.

Beverages List



Caudell - ale or wine beaten with egg yolks to produce a frothy beverage; see: Caudell or Caudell.

Cider, Cidre, or Pommé - apple cider.

Cotignac - fermented juice of medlars or quince.




Murrey, Muré - wine from black mulberries or blackberries.

Perry, Poiré - pear juice.

Prunellé - juice of wild plums, blackthorn berries, or sloeberries

Spiced Wines - see: Clarrey; Potus Ypocras.


Water - used in cooking, but only when its purity was ensured. As a drink by itself or during eating, it was not as popular as it is today; other drinks were more readily available & desired. When water was consumed, it needed to be springwater, and from a spring that met specific regulations: the water must have a good flow & come directly from the ground or a rock, must be cold, must be free of pollution, etc. Bartholomew the Englishman in the 1200's ranked springwater from a northward flowing spring as being the best water to drink; in decreasing order came river water, lake water, & pond or swamp water. With these came the warning that water not from a spring was often poisonous and should always be boiled.

See this illustration of springwater being collected: http://www.godecookery.com/afeast/brew/brew025.html

Physicians noted that water (understandably) had the humoural properties of moist and cold. The stomach, in contrast, was seen as a sort of cooking pot or internal furnace, where foods needed to gently simmer their way into healthy digestion. Water taken during a meal would extinguish this cooking procedure:

Drinking and eating at the same time may be harmful, since water
Cools the stomach, and the food is liable to remain undigested.

See: Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum

For the most part, water was potentially unsafe and known to be so, and alcoholic drinks (considered more readily digestible, pure, & beneficial) were usually the preferred choice of beverage.


NEVER, NEVER, NEVER: Coffee, Tea, & Cocoa. All three of these beverages became immensely popular only after the Middle Ages.

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