Worcestershire Sauce: Everyone’s Favourite Unpronounceable Fermented Liquid

A bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

There’s a magical sauce from England that causes great consternation across the globe. It’s name is seemingly unpronounceable. And, indeed, it probably is.

But Worcestershire Sauce is a demon of a sauce that can transform cheese on toast and various other dishes. Here’s what makes it all tick.

What’s Worcestershire Sauce?

It’s a fermented liquid condiment that consists of barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, sugar, salt, anchovies, and spices.

It was invented in Worcester of Worcestershire here in Blighty in the mid-19th century by John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins.

Lea & Perrins became the company name and the sauce has become pretty legendary ever since.

Along with cheese on toast, it’s often hurled onto a Caesar sala, oysters, egg, burgers, and other such stuff.

It’s a versatile little thing and one that’s proven relentlessly popular and pretty iconic for England.

But it’s been a hit all around the world. You can find varities in the US, China, Japan, Venezuela, and New Zealand.

It’s interesting reading about the variations national takes on it.

In Japan, for example, the sauce is “usutā sōsu” (ウスターソース). It’s a vegetarian variety made from veggies and fruit.

Other areas of the world give it a different name to stop the confusion with pronouncing it (more on that below).

It’s called the “English sauce” by many other countries.

For example, in Brazil it’s “molho inglês” (English sauce) in the lovely country of Brazil. Fancy, eh?

How Do You Pronounce Worcestershire Sauce?

Here’s the tricky bit! Worcestershire Sauce is a difficult word for many non-Brits as you have to go in with a safety kit to come out the other side.

Our advice is to approach it like this:

  • Worcester (were-chester)
  • Shire
  • Sauce

Three steps and you’re out the other side and safe. Give it a shot! Within a week you’ll be a s British as The Queen of England.

What’s the History of Worcestershire Sauce?

A type of Worcestershire Sauce was about during the Roman Empire. It was called “garum” and was a fermented fish sauce.

Pliny the Elder documented it in his work Historia Naturalis. That’s one of the largest major works that’s survived since the Roman Empire.

But it wasn’t until 1837 that a corporation slapped a business onto that.

Lea & Perrins launched the product and the packaging around then said the recipe was from a, “nobleman in the county”. Whatever.

Theories suggest the sauce was rife in India and was picked up and turned into the Worcestershire Sauce majigger in Blighty thanks to the nifty work of local apothecaries.

Worcestershire Sauce legend has it the first official barrel was way too strong and repugnant. As such, it lay abandoned in the factory (forgotten) for years.

It’s the saddest part of an otherwise almightily saucy success story.

How Do You Make Worcestershire Sauce?

This stuff is pretty pungent and that likely comes from the mighty punch of the anchovies. You can see them all in the tub above.

The main ingredients you’ll need are:

Distilled white vinegar
Molasses sugar
Tamarind extract
Natural flavourings
Chilli pepper extract

And a giant blue tub, obviously. Add that lot in and stir them like some crazed witch from Macbeth.

Or just buy a bottle of Worcestershire Sauce from your local supermarket. Much easier.


  1. It’s good stuff. We certainly have it here, but I think our own A1 sauce is supposed to be a variant of Worcestershire sauce. In fact, A1 might just be rebranded HP sauce from what you mentioned earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Why… oh why do I read these hideous food stuffs and condiments recipes you post?
    Marmite, Wooster Sauce, Spotted Dicks, Bovril… is there no end to it all?
    I’m going togo eat a carrot with nothing on it!

    Liked by 1 person

Dispense with some gibberish!

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