Spiced Elderberry Wine

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The original question I was asked is if I have ever published a recipe for spiced elderberry wine. I have not but have been meaning to. I have made this wine twice, using two different formulas. The second batch was so “right on” that I’m not sure I can improve upon it. Here it is, built upon the dried elderberry wine recipe just discussed.

First a word or two of caution. There are many qualities of cinnamon stick. Splurge and go first class. Ginger root comes in all sizes. For this recipe, it need not be very fat, it need not be peeled, and thinly sliced means 8-12 slices to the inch. There are small cloves and larger ones. I use larger ones, but if you are not especially fond of cloves use smaller ones or cut the quantity as you see fit, but do not leave them out altogether, please.

  • 6 1/4 oz dried elderberries
  • 6 1/4 oz white (golden) raisins
  • 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 inch ginger root thinly sliced
  • about 20 cloves
  • 1 lb 13 oz light brown sugar
  • 7 pts water
  • 2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • 1 finely crushed and dissolved Campden tablet
  • 1 oz acid blend
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 1 sachet general purpose red wine yeast

Put raisins in small bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water. Cover and set aside 12 hours. Strain raisins, discard water, return raisins to bowl, and add another 2 cups boiling water. Cover and set aside two hours. Strain again and chop raisins in blender, food processor or electric nut or coffee grinder in several short pulses. Slice ginger root. Place chopped raisins, dried elderberries, cinnamon stick, sliced ginger, and cloves in nylon straining bag, tie closed and place in primary. Add brown sugar to primary and then add 7 pints boiling water. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Cover primary and set aside.

After 12 hours add pectic enzyme, recover primary and set aside another 12 hours. Remove 1/2 cup liquid and dissolve finely crushed Campden tablet in it. Add liquid back to primary and then add yeast nutrient and acid blend. Stir to blend, add activated yeast in a starter solution and recover primary. Punch down bag twice daily for 3 days. Drip drain bag (squeeze if desired) and discard contents. Transfer liquid to secondary and affix an airlock.

Ferment 30 days and rack. Top up, reaffix airlock and set aside until wine clears. Rack again, adding 1/2 teaspoon potassium sorbate and 1 finely crushed Campden tablet, both dissolved into a cup of the wine. When completely dissolved, add to wine, top up if needed and reaffix airlock. Let stand in dark place 2 months, then rack, sweeten to taste if desired, reaffix airlock, and return to dark storage. Allow another 2 months and rack into bottles. Wait 6 months before tasting, longer for full maturity. [Jack Keller’s own recipe]

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