we`re often asked by our customers what liquor is, what its origins are, and if it contains eel – time to clear some things up.
Liquor is a savoury parsley sauce commonly served with traditional London style Pie & Mash. Liquor is not alcoholic; the name instead refers to a liquid in which something has been cooked. The
something in question was originally eels, although at Shaw Pie And Mash, we have never used eel water in our liquor. We use a tasty Vegetable Stock
The earliest known record of liquor comes from Henry Mayhew’s 1851 London Labour and the London
Poor where Mayhew describes how “The portions [of eel] so cut are then boiled, and the liquor is thickened with flour and flavoured with chopped parsley and mixed spices”. Mayhew goes onto
describe how the liquor was seasoned afterwards with “a small quantity of vinegar and spices”, a tradition which continues today
The origins of adding this eel based sauce to Pie & Mash are less clear, however it was probably the result of eel sellers and pie sellers joining forces. These were originally separate street
food enterprises, however Mayhew writes about the opening of pie shops which began to out compete both eel and pie street sellers. It makes sense that these pie shops would start selling
eels to gain complete dominance of the market.