Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Classic of the Month: Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, Cordials and Liqueurs...

Gone are the days of bathtub gin, replaced instead by the recent craze of homebrewing your own beer. Indeed, the homebrewing trend has become particularly popular in recent years, leading to the sale of high-tech brewing gadgetry and even deluxe "Home Brew Kits" for sale online and at major retailers. It's easier than ever to brew beer in your own home. Of course, people have always concocted their own alcoholic beverages, whether they prefer red wine or a hoppy beer at the end of the day.

Old Time Recipes book cover
With a little research you'll find that you can brew not just your own beer, but also your own wines, brandies, ciders, and liqueurs, and that this wide range of tasty beverages can be produced from the simplest and most common of ingredients, from roses and raspberries, to tomatoes and even daisies. In 1909, Helen Wright published a collection of recipes for just such an array of delicious beverages. Having visited friends in New England, she found herself enjoying an "acquaintance with many varieties of home-made wines, over whose wealth of color and delicacy of flavor [her] eyes and palate longed to linger." 

The result of her travels and visits with "ladies of the Great Houses" led to a collection of recipes she published under the title Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, Cordials and Liqueurs from Fruits, Flowers, Vegetables and Shrubs. This collection of recipes is as extensive as its title, including recipes for apple and blackberry wines, as well as American Champagne, root beer, sundry cordials and liqueurs, and three varieties of a beverage intriguingly titled "Cherry Bounce."

This wonderful collection of recipes serves as both a charming historical document (featuring a delightful introduction by Wright) and a practicable recipe book for the homebrewer. While some of the ingredients may be harder to come by in this decade (elephant's milk in particular, may be a hard find!), most of the recipes feature ingredients still accessible today at both the grocery store and even your own garden. The cider recipes (there are nine!) would make a delectable addition to your upcoming Thanksgiving feast or any brisk fall day.

Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, Cordials and Liqueurs... is available in paperback and as a Google eBook.

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