Top 10 Shakespearean drinks


FalstaffThe forerunner of a dry Sherry, ‘Sherry sack’ was made famous by Sir John Falstaff, Shakespeare’s most famous drinker.

There are multiple references to Falstaff enjoying sack, and calling for more, in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and in The Merry Wives of Windsor. (“You love sack, and so do I”.) Sometimes he enjoyed it warm, and on other occasions took it with added sugar.

In Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek both express a fondness for sack (“Come, come, I’ll go burn some sack. Tis too late to go to bed now”.) In The Tempest, Stephano even uses a butt of sack as a float when swimming away from the shipwreck, and drinks the contents with Trinculo.

Sack wouldn’t have been given much time to develop and mature in the barrel – hence the addition of sugar at times – and is likely to have been similar to a modern oloroso in style. Sack became a broad term for a variety of Sherry-style wines, some fortified, some sweet, but the ‘Sherris sack’ was the best known.


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