Puzzle Jugs are of later date than the fuddling cups or pot crowns, and although the idea is fundamentally the same, the method, of tackling them is somewhat different. The necks of most puzzle jugs are perforated at intervals and have several spouts, therefore it is necessary to close all apertures but one with the fingers and thumb before being able to take a draught from the contents of the jug - which aperture to leave open is the puzzle.
One jug of this variety, which is in the British Museum, carries on it the verse :
"Here, gentlemen, come try your skill
I'll hold a wager if you will
That you don't drink this liquor all
Without you spill or let some fall.
There is a particularly good specimen of a puzzle jug in the Unicorn Hotel, Ripon, which the genial landlord will be pleased to fill at your expense, and quite ready to hold a wager on the result. A puzzle jug, dated 1775, with hollow sides has the loyal inscription round a representation of the sun in its glory :
"God save the King I say
God bless the King I pray
God save the King.
Presentation cups are plentiful, but surely there is not another silver tankard bearing such an interesting inscription as that one given by some Yorkshire miners to their lady mine owner, which comes as a refreshing change after perusing the newspapers of the present day. The tankard, holding about a quart of liquor, is fitted with a lid, and has the following lines engraved on the front:
Their most gentle Mistress
The goodly crews, the crew called colliers
The dirtiest but not the most ungrateful of all cattle
And now in high spirits, being about to be turned
into fresh pasture commonly called Bottom Coal
Who has often Ramd their Rops and Whetted their Whistles,
These grim sons of Pluto, living always in greater fear of
Thirst than Firedamp
have with inimitable politeness and address
presented this nipperkin of a Tankard
A nipperkin" to which these grim but excellent sons of Pluto refer, means literally a small nip (this tankard held a quart of liquor, mark you!) The word is also mentioned by Ashton in his Social Life in the Reign of Queen Anne In writing of beers of different strengths, he says from a penny nipperkin of molasses ale to a pint costing fivepence. It is also on record that King William III, our great Deliverer, enjoyed a nipperkin of Schiedent with his Dutch favourites (Noctes Ambrosiance).
Reproduced from the book:
Drinking Vessels of Bygone Days
by G. J. MONSON-FITZJOHN, B.Sc.,F.R.Hist.S.
author of Quaint Signs of Olde Inns, etc.