John Uskglass, The raven king

In conclusion PORTISHEADS’s book-though containing many excellent things-is fine example of the mad contradiction at the heart of Modern English Magic;our foremost magicians continually declare their intention of erasing every hint and trace of JOHN USKGLASS from english magic, but how is this possible? It is JOHN USKGLASS’s magic that we do.

-excerpt from a book review from The Edinburgh review, included in the book

Of course I was always gonna make a cocktail in honor of John Uskglass himself,the Raven king(aslo known as the Nameless slave).


As base I used Laproaig. I like the single malt whiskies in general, and this one in particular. It also felt apt with the Edinburgh review, all the fires being lit in the book and ,oh, peat having a place in fairy magic(if I’ve understood correctly).

It is sweetened with a syrup of apples and pears as there are trees growing at Hurtfew abbey as the result of The Raven King spitting out some pips there. Further sweetness comes from a dash of Sève Fournier as a nod to the king’s supposed French/Normand heritage.

And there was a dash or two of Fee Brother’s “black walnut bitters” as I cannot resist a bit of wordplay (apparently. I should be admitted to a ward or something) but it had “black” in the name and sometimes the impeccable manservant Stephan Black is the nameless slave. English magic cannot make up it’s mind who to obey. Not to mention how well it tastes mixed in with the smoke and the fruit.

This ended up another twist on a whiskey sour; with lemon juice and egg white for the reason that I wanted to make the “Raven volant” i.e. John Uskglass’s heraldic sign on top(but failed miserably) and I made it in summer and sours taste great during those cirka three warm days we have up here.

Apple&Pear syrup;

Making a recipe for this is rather difficult as it depends a bit on what kind of apples and pears  you are using. The point is to make a fruity tasting syrup so fragrant apples are best and definitely firm  pears as to have a clear syrup and not just a load of mush. I used 1 cup of water, 1 cup of caster sugar and 1 cup of chopped fruit bits(rather large chunks to prevent them from falling apart when cooked) which was brought to the boil and left to simmer for a few minutes(In my notes is says 5 minutes). Then remove from heat but let fruit stay in until cool. Then pour it into a clean bottle. Will last about two weeks.

The Raven king; yields 1 cocktail

5 cl smokey whiskey

3 cl lemonjuice

2 cl Appel&Pear syrup

1 cl Seve Fournier

1 dash black walnut bitters

1 eggwhite.

for serving;

cocktail coupe

1.Shake the ingredients well in a shaker full of ice.

2. Pour into the cocktail glass.


This worked out really well; smokey,fruity and then spice and depth from the Séve Fournier and the black walnut bitter.






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