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Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue – Day Fifty-Eight

The Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue was first published at the end of the eighteenth century, and given that the Coronavirus crisis is giving too much time to read books, I thought I’d pick a daily word from it until I got bored…..


A slightly strange name for a drink, this word is defined by the dictionary as a “rum and spruce beer, an American beverage”. The word dates to the seventeenth century and it usually also contains molasses and it was also common in parts of Canada, where it was known as Callibogus.

For anyone who wants to make it, and I don’t think that I’ll be rushing out to get the ingredients (and where on earth would I get Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur or spruce beer from anyway?), here’s a recipe from

1 1⁄4 oz Añejo rum (blend of column and pot still)
3⁄4 oz Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur
3⁄4 oz Molasses syrup
1⁄4 oz Lime juice
1 dr Spruce Beer (extract)
3 oz Seltzer water

I wouldn’t say that the words are much used, but they haven’t gone out of usage entirely.

As for how the word evolved, none of the three dictionaries I looked at had any idea at all……