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Orkney Wedding Cog


The cog is simply a circular drinking vessel. Hand-crafted from wood, it is formed from staves held securely by wooden or metal hoops. Two or three long upright handles rise from the brim of the vessel allowing the bride and the groom to carry the cog around from guest to guest.

The contents of an Orcadian Bride's Cog varies depending on the preferences of the man making it. As such there are no real exact measures and the creation of a good cog usually involves a "self-appointed committee" of men standing around the pot, tasting, arguing and finally deciding when there's enough alcohol, sugar and spices in the mixture.

Here is a suggested recipe...

  • 2 bottles whisky.
  • 2 bottles rum.
  • 1 bottle brandy.
  • 1 bottle port.
  • 1 bottle gin.
  • 12 pints of ale (preferably home brew but bought ale will suffice).
  • 2-4 pints of Stout.
  • Sugar.
  • Mixed Spices. *

Empty the ale into a large pot and begin to heat.
Once the ale is warm, add some sugar to taste and begin to add the spirits, taking care not to boil the mixture - this destroys the alcohol.

Add mixed spice to taste.
Ladle the mixture into the awaiting cog to be passed around the guests.

* Note: In Scotland you can buy a tub of Mixed Spice. It's ingredients are: Ground Cinnamon, Ground Coriander, Ground Ginger, Ground Cloves, Ground Caraway, Ground Cassia, Ground Mace and Ground Pimento.


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