Tag Archives: Mary Mac

‘Scaltheen’

25 grams of salted butter, 3 Tbsp of brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of ground pepper. 100mls hot water.
60ml of Tullamore Dew whiskey
Heat the butter in a pan until melted and add the sugar, stir until its frothy and bubbling. Add the pepper and let it cook for a few seconds. Then stir in the hot water.
Leave to bubble for a minute and then take it off the heat and stir in the whiskey.
Serves two large shots.

For the week that’s in it.

Dublin Bartender and  bar instructor Mary Mac writes:

I’ve recently been researching the ancient Irish drink called ‘Scaltheen’.

Let me tell you its absolutely delicious and considering the season that;s in it I wanted to share it with my fellow Irish men and women and thought Broadsheet was the way to do it – I’ve shared cocktails through you guys before!

I had never heard of Scaltheen since a friend of my dad’s told me about it during a discussion about Eggnog (of which i might add he is the king).

The conversation reminded me of old Irish saying that goes, “A drop of whiskey and butter cures all that ails you” and up until I heard of Scaltheen I never really considered that, but after hearing about the drink which mixed up butter, whiskey, and pepper I was intrigued enough to do some research.

Scaltheen means ‘A little Scald’ which of course comes from the Irish word ‘Scall’ for to burn. It has made its way into the common vocabulary of Dubliners who use it to describe a hot drink – ‘A cup o scald’.

In the olden days most pubs, on the main Irish roads, would keep a pot of Scaltheen on the fire to serve weary travellers and aid against illness.

In those days when fire was the only “hob” available it was often burnt, so word of a good Scaltheen maker in a pub would bring folk from far and wide. I

t was taken, according to legend, boiling hot, in the establishment known as Connolly’s Hunting Lodge aka the Hellfire Club. Members would gulp the boiling Scaltheen and sometimes dropped dead from doing so!

To make Scaltheen you need a pot on a medium heat into which you will mix Butter, sugar, pepper and water, adding whiskey of course at the end.

A whiskey like Tullamore Dew would really work here as it’s smooth and mellow. It was really delicious and had the same effect on my cold as a curry, relieving my blocked nose for a few hours – so the old saying is true!

Previously: A Long, Cool Michael Collins