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!
1 part dark treacle (molasses)
2 parts gin
Measure ingredients into mule mug or highball glass.
Top with a spring of mint or lemon rind.