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Alcoholic Drinks of the Middle Ages

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Old 25th February 2001, 17:29
SandyO SandyO is offline
Join Date: Aug 1999
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The following three recipes are taken from The Closet of Sir Kenelm Digbie Kt. Opened...Please note that all three of these recipes are non-grape wines made from other fruits. Note, also, that two of them call for the addition of sugar. The use of sugar in cooking and winemaking had been in practice for 300 years or more by the writing The Closet.....as evidenced by the mention of both "powdered sugar" and "crystallized sugar" in a cookbook written in 1392, mentioned by Leechdom.

~The Countess Of Newport's Cherry Wine~
Pick the best Cherries free from rotten, and pick the stalks from them; put them into an earthen pan. Bruise them, by gripping and straining them in your hands, and let them stand all night; on the next day, strain them out (through a napkin, which if it be a course and thin one, let the juyce run through a Hippocras or gelly bag, upon a pound of fine pure sugar in powder, to every gallon of juyce) and to every gallon put a pound of sugar, and put it into a vessel. Be sure your vessel will be full, or your wine will be spoiled; and in every bottle you must put a lump (a piece as big as a nutmeg) of sugar. The vessel must not be stopt until it hath done working.

~Strawberry Wine~
Bruise the strawberries, and put them into a Linnen-bag which hath been a little used, that so the liquor may run through more easily. You hang in the bag at the bung into the vessel, before you do put in your Strawberries. The qunaity of the fruit is left to your discretion; for you will judge to be there enough of them, when the color of the wine is high enough. During the working, you leave the bung open. The working being over, you stop your vessel. Cherry-wine is made after the same fashion. But it is a little more troublesome to break the Cherry-stones. But it is necessary, that if your Cherries be of the black soure Cherries, you put to it a little Cinnamon, and a few Cloves.

~Country Housewife Mead~
Take eight Gallons of Water, and as much Honey as will make it bear an egg; add to this the Rinds of six Lemons, and boil it well, scumming it carefully as it rises. When 'tis off the Fire. put to it the Juice of the six Lemmons, and pour it into a clean Tub, or earthen Vessel, if you have one large enough, to work three days, then scum it well, and pour off the clear into the Cask, and let it stand open till it has done making a hissing Noise; after which stop it up close, and in three months time it will be fine, and fit for bottling.
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