Ypocrys Wines, Sherries, and/or Meads


April 5, 2001
  • 1 bottle plain red wine
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbl honey
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  • a bit of ginger,
  • cut up a small knob of galingale (optional)
  • 1-2 whole nutmegs
  • 5-6 cardamom pods
  • several whole cloves

Put all of the spices into a small strainer, with a long handle. Heat the wine gently in a small enamel saucepan, until it begins to steam a little; do not let it boil. Add the sugar and honey, and stir until they are well-dissolved. Place the strainer into the wine; reduce heat and cook gently for several minutes. Remove strainer and set aside; immediately pour wine into mugs and enjoy. The same spices can be reused several times on successive evenings before getting worn out. This is a variant of proper period hypocras, with a few tweaks. The period recipe would usually have been made with ground spices, wrapped in a fine cloth. The period version would also have been served either warm or cool, while this version is reasonably tasty at room temperature but is best when served quite warm on a cool. If cooled, it can be reheated in a microwave oven. The recipe is quite flexible and can be tweaked in many ways. Some ingredients are optional. Galingale, for example, is a relative of ginger and is relatively hard to find. The author recommends using an inexpensive Burgundy or Merlot as the base. [Adapted from Pleyn Delit , by Heiatt and Butler, recipe 127, which in turn is adapted from Forme of Cury , a 14th century cookbook.]