Green’s Dictionary of Slang

creature, the n.

[joc. use of SE]

1. wine.

[UK]Pride and Loveliness n.p.: The creature [wine] of the proper kind Was good, though use offenden therewithal [F&H].
Penkethman Artachthos K3: The moderate use of the Creature, and sparing Dyet, which is very little practised.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 5 28 June 36: A She-Toper in Sheer-street [...] having lately swallowed too much of the Creature.
[UK]R. Howard The Committee IV i: Who wou’d have believ’d that we Shou’d have liv’d to have seen Obadiah overcome with the Creature?
[UK]Tongue Combatants 10: While Country Gossips Oyl their Tongues with Ale, / Dull liquors serving for a homely tale; / We Citizens with Sack our pallets liquor.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy IV 75: The Sober Fraternity, who are allow’d of late to be as good Judges of the Comfortable Creature, as [...] a Latitudinarian Fuddle-Cap.
[UK]N. Ward Rambling Fuddle-Caps 14: Why shou’d not I love a Cup of the Creature, As well as my Father.
[UK]Smollett Ferdinand Count Fathom I 72: The German [...] never went to bed without a full dose of the creature, which added to his constitutional drowsiness.
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) III 106: Under the guise of friendship, she handed over the cup of consolation; nay, even the creature on tick, if the unemployed cracksman was likely soon to be flush.

2. porter.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry IV Pt 2 II ii: My appetite was not princely got; for, by my troth, I do now remember the poor creature, small beer.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 8: Beer — a common name for Ale or Porter [...] In Ireland, when good, ’tis [i.e. porter] ‘the creature’.

3. (also craither, crater, crathur, cratur, crature, craychur, crayter, craythur, craytur, creater, creather, creatur, cretur, ould creature) whisky, esp. Irish whisky.

[US]B. Franklin ‘Drinkers Dictionary’ in Pennsylvania Gazette 6 Jan. in AS XII:2 90: They come to be well understood to signify plainly that A MAN IS DRUNK. [...] He’s been too free with the Creature.
[UK]‘Geoffrey Wildgoose’ Spiritual Quixote II Bk vii 111: He seems to like a bit of the good cretur as well as other folks.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 17 Sept. 980/1: By Jasus, says he, let us have a drop of the creature first, I afterwards asked him what the creature was? and he said, sure man alive it is good whisky.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 105: Och! call for the crater, and push it about [...] To the boys of the ocean we’ll swig it away.
[UK] ‘A Sup of good Whisky’ Jovial Songster 135: A sup of good whisky will make you glad; / Too much of the creature will make you mad.
[UK]Salisbury & Winchester Jrnl 8 June 3: I’ve taken a drop too much of the good cretur, and got sickish or so.
[Aus]Australian (Sydney) 12 May 4/1: James Day, another ‘boy’ well disposed to enjoy a drop of the ‘krathur’.
[UK]Belfast News-Letter 2 Jan. 4/2: Cursecowl swashed the rest of the raw creature into the tankard.
[US]D. Crockett Narrative of the Life of D.C. (1934) 27: So I took ‘leetle of the creater,’ – that warmer of the cold, and cooler of the hot.
[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 121: The Arrah Nows, with their fly-traps open, wou’d toss in a plum [with] a touch of the creather tu wash it down.
[UK]Paul Pry 30 Sept. 181/2: Why—Sewell, the livery stable keeper, 'don't toss his wife in a blanket,' when she takes too much of the ‘Cratur?’.
[UK]London Mag. Feb. 44: [T]he Prince has promised for to sind a [...] full kevotten, imparial mizzur, av the pure craytur, to iviry mother's son avus.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 301: Instead of displaying that alacrity so universal in Ireland of sharing the ‘creature’ with a new comer, the men only pointed to the bottle.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 22 Aug. 765: They tell me you love a drop of the cratur?
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 340: You ’aven’t a drop o’ the cretur with ye, ’ave ye?
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune (1847) 138: Jerry, having divers and sundry times in his life been magnetized by the crathur.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 18 Nov. 1/5: I’ll give you a dhrop of the crater, to comfort your bowels.
[UK]Sam Sly 20 Jan. 3/2: He advises that man who creeps about the Dark House, New- gate-market [...] not take so many drops of the ould creature.
[US]G.G. Foster Clelio 95: In our profession much drink don’t do [...] There isn’t a man in the band, now, that takes too much of the cratur.
[US] ‘A Modest Irishman!’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 160: He had a touch or two of the ‘craythur’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 July 3/3: Mister Heley being a gintleman who is rather fond of a drop of the crature [...] drinking a few tumblers of Irish whiskey.
[US] ‘Mulvaney & O’Flanagan’ Donnybrook-Fair Comic Songster 55: May he and his whole dirty band / Be choked when they next drink the ‘cratur!’.
[Aus]Mercury (Hubart) 23 Apr. 2/5: [from the Stranraer Free Press] [...] drop o’ the cratur .
[UK]Manchester Courier 5 June 10/3: Another howls to Mike somebody to come and a drop of the ‘crater’.
[UK]H. Nisbet ‘Bail Up!’ 215: Devil fly away wid the smoke that a glass of good crater doesn’t improve.
[UK]Birmingham Dly Post 31 Mar. 3/4: He had been on the spree for a week, and wvas dying for a drink to quench his raging thirst, without having the wherewithal to pay for a single drop of the crathur.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 13 May 522: Sure, ye’ll excuse me, sorr, but I niver taste the craytur.
[Ire]G. Fitzmaurice ‘The Disappearance of Mrs. Mulreany’ in Weekly Freeman 16 Nov. (1970) 73: Blow me! ’twas a pity I didn’t think of bringin’ a sup of the crathur wid me.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 2 Oct. 4/7: As dacent a dhrop av the cratur as iver an exciseman niver clapped his papers on in Ould Oireland, be cripes.
[UK]C. Tomalin Venturesome Tom 54: What with the drubbing he had received and too much of ‘the crathur,’ poor Dinny lay dead drunk.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 97/2: Craythur, Craytur, or Craychur (Irish). Whiskey ; e.g., ‘Oh, for the love o’ God giv me now a taste o’ the craythur.’.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 229: Irish whisky being otherwise known as [...] the crater, cratur or creature.
[UK]J. McGuffin In Praise of Poteen 142: Muldoon settles down, mug of punch in hand, to tell you of ‘the good old days’ when he made the ‘cratur’.

4. brandy.

[UK]Spy on Mother Midnight 24: Let’s all take a Sup of the Creature. [...] A Dram of right Nantz is an excellent Cordial.
[UK]W. Scott Old Mortality in Waverley II (1855) 385: The comfortable creature, which the carnal do denominate brandy.
[UK]M. Scott Tom Cringle’s Log (1862) 325: He produced two bottles of brandy [...] and a small silver drinking cup, with him, so we passed the crature round.

5. gin; may be a misinterpretation by Bee; but Mayhew cit. goes on to cite gin specifically.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 59: Creature — another name for gin, or other strong drink.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 233/1: When she got the money [...] I took it all, and laid it out for her, but never a drop of the crater passed down Chaney Emm’s lips.

In phrases

drop of the creature (n.) (also cup of the creature)

a drink of strong liquor, usu. (Irish) whisky.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Cup of the creature Strong-liquor.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Cup of the creature, a cup of good liquor.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘A Drop of the Creature’ Collection of Songs II 46: My joy and delight / Was, on Saturday night, / A drop of the creature to swig.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Oct. IX 25/2: A wife, who, like some of her sex, is rather fond of a drop of the good creature.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 219: Kit Blarney [...] has dropped in for the purposes of lighting her short pipe, to get a drap of the crature.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 158: Here’s summat for you in the mean while, – a drop o’ the cretur, to preach comfort to your poor stomach.
[UK]Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 15: Jan, take a drop of the cratur.
[Ire] ‘Tippling Paddy Flannagan’ Dublin Comic Songster 177: The water, he said, made him dry, / So he asked for a drop o’ the crature.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 76: An now a wee drap of the crater wudn’t hurt us.
[UK]M. Reid Scalp-Hunters II 190: In trath, Misther Gowdey; an’ it’s meself ’ud go far this blissed night for a dhrap o’ the crayter.
[US] ‘Tim Finigan’s Wake’ in I. Beadle Comic and Sentimental Song Bk 60: He’d a drop of the creatur’ every morn.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 25 Sept. 13/4: A gentleman had a wife who was altogether too fond of a ‘drop of the crathur’.
[UK]Standard 14 Aug. 2: Says he, ‘Maggie,’ have a drop of the cratur [F&H].
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 8 Jan. 5/1: Bridget, it’s a cauld ye have. A throp of the craythur ’ll do ye no harm.
[US]A. Irvine My Lady of the Chimney Corner 110: Nearly everybody had ‘a dhrap o’ th’ craither’ and a bite of fadge.
[Ire]L. Mackay Mourne Folk 29: Ye must have a drop of the cratur with us afore ye go.
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Faustus Kelly in ‘Flann O’Brien’ Stories & Plays (1973) 161: Yerrah, Captain, wait till you get a drop of the good ould crature into you.
[UK]I. Rankin Strip Jack 102: A drop of the cratur wouldn’t go amiss though, if it’s not too much trouble.