Search

Made in Hackney: The Tudor liqueur that no one’s tasted for centuries is back

PUBLISHED: 10:28 19 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:28 19 June 2017

An Escubac 'E and T'

An Escubac 'E and T'

sweetdram

Each week, the Gazette takes to the streets to unearth something being manufactured right here in Hackney. This week we visit Sweetdram’s HQ in Gillett Street to find out what, precisely, royal usquebaugh is.

The botanicals used to make EscubacThe botanicals used to make Escubac

Andrew Smith and Daniel Fisher set out to create a liqueur popular in Tudor times they’d only read about in ancient distilling manuals.

Royal usquebaugh was a spicy citrus-y cordial coloured with saffron and the only British liqueur that migrated from Britain to the continent. The French renamed it “escubac” before it became obsolete.

Under the name Sweetdram, the pair spent 18 months in their Dalston micro-distillery tinkering with different weights and measures of the dried plants and botanicals it is made from, until they found the right balance.

Daniel said: “We wanted to design a modern spirit that could be served with tonic like gin, but wasn’t gin, so our signature simple serve is escubac with tonic and lemon – the ‘E and T’.”

They don’t have the space in Gillett Street to create the volume needed to distribute to the seven countries it is sold in, so they travel to a bigger distillery in France four times a year to produce it. But this summer they will bring out two liqueurs distilled in Dalston.

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 17:24

A late strike from Lily Owsley saw England come from behind to grab a point in their Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup opener with India.

Pre-season friendly: Concord Rangers 2 Leyton Orient 3

Yesterday, 11:30

London Lions have announced that guard Jordan Spencer will begin his professional career in the capital next season.

Yesterday, 11:30

Middlesex all-rounder James Fuller had mixed feelings after his stunning 6-28 haul proved in vain in a Vitality Blast T20 defeat at Hampshire.

Yesterday, 10:00

James Fuller’s six-wicket haul proved in vain as Middlesex lost to Hampshire in their latest Vitality Blast T20 match on Friday night.

Yesterday, 09:00

Lunchtime gardening by office workers has turned a littered patch near London Fields into a blooming community project.

Yesterday, 08:30

Hackney’s streets are not used to being scorched two weeks running and the aromas being revealed make for an intense running experience, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Yesterday, 08:00

NBA Crossover runs from August 10-12

PROMOTED CONTENT

To celebrate LGBT history month, Hackney resident Amanda talks about her journey to becoming a foster carer, with the council’s support and training.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists