Rattle Skull

The classic colonial lip loosener.

Colonial taverns weren’t just watering holes, they were also the gathering places for political debates, theatrical productions, social hour and business meetings. To loosen one’s tongue, the more reticent of tavern patrons might order a Rattle Skull, a term that denoted a chatterbox or an empty-headed person.

The early colonists drank a daily average of seven shots of booze—or the equivalent amount of alcohol in cider and beer—and with its heavy mix of porter beer, rum or brandy, lime and brown sugar, the Rattle Skull was an efficient mixture for the impatient; and, perhaps, a good description of the impending, head-pounding, hangover should that efficiency be taken too far.


Serving: 1

  • 12 ounces porter
  • 1 1/2 ounces rum, and/or brandy
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce brown sugar syrup (1:1, sugar:water)

Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

  1. To a large beer mug, add all ingredients and stir gently.
  2. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.