A. To decant wine by pouring it through the holes into another container
B. To accommodate multiple straws for communal drinking
C. To challenge the drinker to consume the contents without spilling them
D. To pour multiple servings of grog at a time
The so-called “puzzle jug” was popular in homes and taverns in the 18th and 19th centuries. It descended from earlier drinking puzzles, such as the fuddling cup and King/Tinker mug, examples of which date back to medieval times. An inscription on the jug typically challenges the drinker to drink from the vessel in such a way that the beverage does not spill. The solution? The jug has a hidden tube, one end of which is the spout. The tube usually runs around the rim and then down the handle, with its other opening inside the jug and near the bottom. To solve the puzzle, the drinker must suck from the spout end of the tube. To make the puzzle more interesting, some jugs had a number of additional holes, which had to be closed off before the contents could be drained.