Discuss (0)  

Recipe for Hippocras

Author: Behen fitzDexter (Ben Crosby)
Date: October 1997
fitzDexter's feast - Hippocras

With cold weather approaching, now is an ideal time to consider one of the most popular beverages of the medieval period - Hippocras, or hot spiced wine. Although wine making had been practiced for well over a thousand years, the art of blending vintages, if not completely unknown, was certainly not well understood, with the result that most wines were of an acidity that would be virtually unpalatable today. To compensate for this, various additives were concocted, usually mixtures of honey, spices and herbs. One period formula calls for 1/3 ounce very fine and clean cinnamon, 1/20 ounce ginger, twice as much cloves and an equal amount nutmeg, and six ounces honey. The spices were ground and put in a potpourri bag (a fine muslin sachet similar to a modern teabag) which was hung in a quart of wine overnight or longer. This is still a workable recipe, but here are a couple which may be a little easier to make these days.

Recipe #1
8 - 10 aromatic apples (Cortland or Golden Delicious work well)
1/2 pound sugar
3 - 4 whole peppercorns
1 lemon rind
1/3 ounce cinnamon
4 whole cloves
2 ounces almonds
2 bottles Rhine wine

Peel the apples and cut them into thin slices. Put these into a large non-reactive pot (enameled, pyrex or stainless steel - NOT aluminum!). Add the sugar, peppercorns, lemon rind, cinnamon and cloves. Mash the almonds into a paste and add to the pot. Pour over these ingredients the bottles of wine and let them soak, covered, for at least twelve hours. Strain well and serve at room temperature or heat and serve warm. If you choose to heat it, the alcohol will cook off, and you will have a non-alcoholic potion. In the middle ages hippocras was heated with a red hot poker from the fireplace. Since this also caused the alcohol to evaporate, mulled wine was frequently spiked with distilled spirits. Depending on your circumstances, this is an option you may choose to employ, or not.

Recipe #2

6 ounces white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3/4 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon each: ground cardamom, ground black pepper, and a pinch of grated galingale (if available - can often be obtained from Oriental grocers)
2 liters red wine

Pour the wine into a large non-reactive pot. Over low heat, warm until just beginning to steam. Add the sugar and stir slowly to dissolve. Mix all the rest of the ingredients and slowly add to the wine, stirring constantly. Simmer gently for ten minutes, then strain and serve hot.
Created by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 12-05-20 08:38 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 12-05-20 08:38 PM