url= http://www.vam.ac.uk/images/image/40980-popup.html
title= Posset Pot
accessdate= 2007-12-09] Victoria and Albert Museum, London] A posset is a hot milk drink, popular in the Middle Ages for its supposed medicinal properties. Wine or ale was added to milk, which curdled it, and the mixture was usually spiced. It was considered a specific remedy for some minor illnesses, such as a cold, and a general remedy for others, as even today people drink hot milk to help them get to sleep. A caudle was a later development that added a thickening agent—usually some kind of grain (a cereal or "gruel") but sometimes eggs—that also increased its nutritional value. Eggnog belongs to the same family of milk punches.

Possets are generally made from lemon, or other citrus, juice; cream and sugar. Eggs are often added, as well.

The preparation of posset could be elaborate, and the word "posset" became a verb, meaning to coddle or pamper someone by taking trouble to make them comfortable. Some scholars trace the verb "coddle" to "caudle", but others assign them different derivations.

"Posset sets" for mixing and serving possets were popular gifts, and valuable ones (often made of silver) were heirlooms. Such sets contained a posset "pot," or "bowl," or "cup" to serve it in, a container for mixing it in, and usually various containers for the ingredients, as well as spoons. The posset set that the Spanish ambassador gave Queen Mary I of England and King Philip II of Spain when they became betrothed in 1554 is believed to have been made by Benvenuto Cellini and is of crystal, gold, precious gems, and enamel. It is on display at Hatfield House in England and consists of a large, stemmed, covered bowl, two open, stemmed vessels, a covered container, three spoons, and two forks.

Lady Macbeth uses poisoned possets to knock out the guards outside Duncan's quarters, "The doors are open, and the surfeited groomsDo mock their charge with snores. I have drugg'd their possetsThat death and nature do contend about them,Whether they live or die."
Macbeth Act II, Scene ii


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  • Posset — Pos set, n. [W. posel curdled milk, posset.] A beverage composed of hot milk curdled by some strong infusion, as by wine, etc., much in favor formerly. I have drugged their posset. Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Posset — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda El Posset es una bebida elaborada en la cocina medieval cuyo principal ingrediente era la leche, se servía caliente. Se añadía a la leche otros ingredientes como el vino o la cerveza (ale) o incluso algunas especias …   Wikipedia Español

  • Posset — Pos set, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Posseted}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Posseting}.] 1. To curdle; to turn, as milk; to coagulate; as, to posset the blood. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To treat with possets; to pamper. [R.] She was cosseted and posseted. O.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Posset — (engl.), so v.w. Biermolken …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • posset — mid 15c., of unknown origin …   Etymology dictionary

  • posset — [päs′it] n. [ME < ?] a hot drink made of milk curdled as with ale or wine, usually spiced and sweetened …   English World dictionary

  • posset — noun Etymology: Middle English poshet, possot Date: 15th century a hot drink of sweetened and spiced milk curdled with ale or wine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • posset — /pos it/, n. a drink made of hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or the like, often sweetened and spiced. [1400 50; late ME poshote, possot < ?] * * * …   Universalium

  • posset — 1. noun A beverage composed of hot milk curdled by some strong infusion, as by wine, etc. 2. verb To treat with possets; to pamper Syn: coddle, cosset, pamper …   Wiktionary

  • Posset — A drink, considered a delicacy, made from hot milk curdled with wine and sweetened with sugar, to which spices might be added …   Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases

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