Appalachian Food

Lambs Wool – A Drink

Remember a few days ago when I asked you for your apple cider recipes? The recipes shared by Blind Pig readers got me to thinking using whole apples would for sure make my merry brew concoction taste more like apple cider.

I decided to look in my other cookbooks before I added apples to my original recipe, and I found the most interesting apple drink in my favorite Appalachian Cook book: Sidney Saylor Farr’s More Than Moonshine.

Traditional lambs wool drink

Ms. Farr said the recipe was given to Marjorie Malicote by a woman in East Tennessee who was over a hundred years old.

The recipe calls for: 8 roasted or baked apples, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 quart of ale, and honey to taste.

I didn’t have any ale on hand-so I substituted a quart of apple juice for it.Apple lambs wool drink

I baked the apples for almost an hour at 350. The recipe said to put the apples through a strainer or sieve. I threw them in my food mill and ended up with applesauce.

I figured I was too far invested to give up at this point but I was wondering how something so thick could end up liquid. I added the spices and the quart of apple juice. I poured it all into a pot and let it come to a simmer. The recipe said to let it simmer over a hot fire, but not boil.

Apple drink from appalachia

At first taste I knew that I liked it better than my mixed up version of Merry Brew, but I knew it had to please the girls too. They both said it wasn’t sweet enough. I was debating on adding sugar when I suddenly remembered I left out the honey.

I added 3 tablespoons of honey and we all agreed it was just right. The mixture is a little on the thick side. I would say the texture is similar to a milkshake.

I googled Lambs Wool to see if anyone else had ever heard of it. Turns out it is the traditional drink for 12th Night, the eve of Epiphany.



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  • Reply
    February 10, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    How interesting! I just came across an old recipe that called for Lamb’s Wool. I had no idea this was a thing! Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kenny "Doc" White
    October 18, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Tipper, your aunt’s story of the man who disappeared in his field reminded me of something I read about a long time ago. In 1880, Tennessee farmer David Lang was walking across his field as his wife and two children watched from the house. A buggy carrying two men was passing by the field at the same time and saw Lang making his way through the field in front of his home. Suddenly, Lang disappeared. It happened in the blink of an eye. One moment Lang was walking and the next he was gone as though he’d vanished into thin air. His wife and children ran from the house to the spot where he’d disappeared as did the two men in the buggy. Everyone assumed Lang had fallen into a hole, but the field was level without any holes. Still, neighbors and friends joined in a search over the field that stretched into the night. No one found any kind of anomaly or disturbance in the field. David Lang had simply vanished. By now, his wife was hysterical and had to be taken to the house No one could explain the strange disappearance of a man in broad daylight that was witnessed by his wife, children and two men. It was said that the vegetation in the area where he disappeared turned yellow, extending to a 15-ft circle. No animal would graze in that section of the field.
    Several months later, as the Lang children played near the area where David had disappeared, they reported hearing him call out for help. They reported that his voice sounded very distant and soon it, too, disappeared. Now there are people who think it true and others who think it’s a hoax. I don’t know but it sure gave me the creeps when I first encountered it 50 years or so ago.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    October 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    One more thing…Maybe the Lambs wool drink is so soft and smooth it is like Lambs wool…just a ponder…
    One more thang…this is relating to yesterdays post…
    I don’t believe anyone mentioned “Devils Holes.” There is a money pit (nick named) in Nova Scotia that is an endless pit where there is supposed to be treasure…The devils holes here in the US that I have heard and read of in my UFO ponders…are in Nevada and Washington state…Purty dern creepy if you ask me…but don’t..
    Well, shucks might as well bring it up…My Aunt in Mars Hill told of a farmer, that was plowing his field for his ‘baccer patch. She said, they said and he was supposed to be a sober, legimate gossip leasion..that the ground just opened up in a big hole and that farmer, mule, plow and all disappeared! Just gone, left this airway for deeper ground and then the hole just covered itself in and up…
    I was about 12 when I heard this one…
    To this day, I will not walk around a dry crack in the earth, or look over a deep revene without thinking about that tale..
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 30, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    This sounds interesting, I’ll give it a try.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    October 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Love the post today…now then when one goes to all the trouble to make cider, it seems to me the next step is to make homemade vinegar…Do you make your own vinegar?
    Now then don’t you think homemade vinegar would purse your lips…LOL
    My White House (government not company) from 1879 has some vinegar recipes…Would you believe not, nada, none, no Cider recipes…but some ale concoctions…hummmm
    I have another presidental wives cookbook somewhere in never never land…but might take a while to find it…I shore do need me a library with shelves and a standing cardfile like in the olden days..maybe I could keep up with these books..
    I also have a Wassail bowl in the ‘tique storage shed…with cups..nothing but a modified punch bowl but not as big…
    I sure am getting Thursday on Tuesday….
    Thanks Tipper,
    Drinken Less

  • Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Don’t know much about Cider drinks
    but we use to gather lots of apples from our orchard and store
    them for later use. Mama would core out those Potts apples and
    put sugar in its place and bake
    with the peeling on. What a treat
    for a hungry gang of boys!…Ken

  • Reply
    Donna Godfrey
    October 30, 2012 at 9:48 am

    A wonderful post again. I sure will be trying this….Thanks for sharing so much with all of us.

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    October 30, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I love Lamb’s Wool and also Wassail. I used to make both when I worked at a living history museum. We used to have an event every year called “Holiday Traditions” and I used 19th century recipes for both.
    Yummy stuff and boy would I love to have some on this cold, blustery day!

  • Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Dolores-I used a variety of apples-just cause thats what I had on hand : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    October 30, 2012 at 9:21 am

    This sounds wonderful and it is making my lips smack. I have never tried making anything other than crock pot apples. Did you use a mixture of apples or one specific type?

  • Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Isn’t that interesting! Thanks for the link, Tipper. I’l bet you and your girls didn’t miss the soggy toast in the bottom of the cup 😉

  • Reply
    October 30, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Morning Tipper,
    I have found that when I am looking for ideas concerning drinks for groups or parties, bartender sites have usually come up with all of the possible flavor combinations that work well together. Most flavors can usually be found in a non-alcoholic form too. Here is a link to a pretty good one that I have used before- on their apple drink page – in case anyone wants to experiment some more 🙂

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 30, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Tipper if you put this mixture in the ricer/strainer you would get a thin drink. Then if you put a little pressure on the straining mixture with wooden tool you could add as much pulp as you wanted. I really like the idea of ginger in your drink. I’m very fond of ginger.
    The Lambswool site is interesting. I was pleased to find that it didn’t really have lambs wool in the list of ingredients. If you put ale in it you would have a drink something like hard cider. I don’t know much, or I should say anything, about hard cider.
    Remember the girl at the Folk School Fall Festival who had all the unusual lambs wool products? I thought of her when I saw your Lambswool cider.

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