Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive
Research towards the book led us to seek reappropriations of Alice in the UK and abroad, especially the US and Japan. We took a particular interest in Carroll’s effect on culinary history. The real-life Charles Dodgson was fastidious about his diet, and his books reflect a similar obsession with consumption. As we discuss in chapter two, Carroll was shocked that the Looking-Glass biscuit tins he had informally licenced were being sold with biscuits inside, and he insisted that his share of the tins be delivered empty.
Modern culinary responses to Alice, some no doubt that would perplex Carroll, are discussed in the fifth chapter of our book.
Space constraints meant that we could not pursue our food-related research, in writing at least, as fully as we wished, but we did gather material on recipes ranging from Victorian mock-turtle soup to Heston Blumenthal’s Alice banquet. We also encountered a number of Wonderland-themed alcoholic drinks being brewed around the world. Alice in modern times is strongly linked to cultures of intoxication.  Guinness, for instance, frequently used Alice in its marketing campaigns, and the British Library currently sells a ‘Drink Me’ sparkling wine.
Beer-makers have also taken up this association through a variety of Alice-inspired brews. Arguably the ‘drink me’ flavours of ‘cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast’ are best found in malt and hops, perhaps in a red Rodenbach or a vintage J. W. Lees Harvest Ale. In the hopes of discovering some of these flavours, we have opened three beers with an Alice connection
Mad Hatter Down the Rabbit Hole – 8.1%
The cherry tart is certainly present in this sour beer. It’s fizzy and lemony with tropical fruit and elements of pine, biscuit, flowers, and grapefruit. Plenty of hoppy complexity.
Humpty Dumpty Bad Egg – 4.1%
A ruby ale with plums and hints of banana, packed with berries. A light, malty beer that starts out dry and turns creamy (perhaps we’re imagining the custard).
BrewDog Alice Porter – 5.2%
Although not explicitly named after Carroll’s Alice, it’s hard to believe that the canny marketers at BrewDog were unaware of the association. Indeed, the Alice Porter comes closest of our trio to embracing the ‘drink me’ tastes. Cherry, toffee, and burnt toast are strongly in evidence, as is a meaty flavour akin to roasted turkey skin.
This missing element here is pineapple, which we hope to find in other (sadly yet-untasted) Alice beers:
New Holland Brewing’s Mad Hatter Midwest IPA
Rabbit Hole Brewing’s Off with Your Red and Tweedleyum
Wonderland Brewing Company’s Alice Blonde
Weetwood Ale’s Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter
 See, most recently, Michael Parrish Lee, ‘Eating Things: Food, Animals, and Other Life Forms in Lewis Carroll’s Alice Books’, Nineteenth-Century Literature 68 (2014), 484-512.
 See Thomas Fensch, Alice in Acidland (Woodlands, TX: New Century Books, 1970).
Zoe Jaques and Eugene Giddens