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Glass of the modern lemon posset dessert, served with almond bread
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Posset in its earliest known medieval form was a drink made from heated milk, lightly curdled by the addition of an acidic liquid such as wine or ale, sweetened and often spiced; richer versions might also contain cream or eggs.[1] It was often used as a remedy for colds,[2] and other ailments.[3] Breadcrumbs and honey were sometimes added to thicken the drink, turning it into what was called eating posset, thick enough to slice.[1]

During the 18th century various solids began to be added to the drink, including almonds, crumbled biscuits and sponge fingers, and gradually it evolved into an early form of trifle. The word posset today usually refers to a cold set dessert invented in the late 19th century, containing cream and lemon, similar to syllabub.[1]

The term is also used in reference to the small amount of semi-digested milk often regurgitated by babies after feeding.[4]

1661 English posset pot
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Possets were generally served in a posset pot, which resembled a teapot with two handles.[3] As posset evolved from being a drink to a dessert, the spout allowed the liquid part underlying the layer of thick, sweet gruel to be drunk separately from the topping, which was eaten with a spoon.[5]



Bender, David A. “Posset.” A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2014,
Bramen, Lisa. “Pass the Posset: The Medieval Eggnog.” Smithsonian Magazine, 8 Dec. 2010,
Davidson, Alan, and Tom Jaine, editors. “Posset.” The Oxford Compnion to Food, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2014,
Law, Jonathan, and Elizabeth Martin, editors. “Posset.” Concise Medical Dictionary, Online, Oxford  University Press, 2020,
Ysewijn, Regula. “Historic Recipes: Sack Posset – a Rich Pudding to Cure All Ils.” The Guardian, 7 Apr. 2016,