Spring has sprung! Yet the nights can be a little bit on the cool side requiring a little warming. I had this recipe on hand from the cold nights at Gulf Wars this year. The wine, excellent blankets and a faux fur ankle length coat kept me warm during 2013 freezing nights!
To make hippocras, take a pottle of wine, two ounces of good cinnamon, half an ounce of ginger, nine cloves, and six pepper corns, and a nutmeg, and bruise them and put them into the wine with some rosemary flowers, and so let them steep all, night and then put in sugar a pound at least; and when it is well settled, let it run through a woollen bag made for that purpose: thus if you wine be claret, the hippocras will be red; if white, then of that colour also.
Chinese Ciniman stick
½ oz ginger peeled,
6 pepper corns
Nutmeg whole (1/8 tsp ground if not)
1 cup brown sugar
Rosemary flowers if in season. Not rosemary stems just the rosemary flowers.
I had to take a few liberties with this excellent recipe. I used a descent wine but not a great wine. Some thing that I could and would drink plainly but one that would not be ruined by adding of spices.
I put roughly 1 Tbl spoon of a hippocras blend that contains Saigon cinnamon, allspice, Ceylon and Madagascar cloves, blade mace and inner cardamom seeds. My opinion is that each house or even each bar had a different recipe containing some the brewers favorite spices. My spice blend did not have the ginger nor the pepper corns, though it did have mace instead of nutmeg as well as cardamom seeds and all spice. I can live with this substitution! I do plan on using the ginger and peppercorns as I love both flavors; a spiciness that combines very well with sweet.
Instead of letting the wine settle over night (as the event was an hour away when I made this) I settled for warming the wine to just at simmering (the bubbles just are forming) when I turned off the pot and added a Tbs of spicing and 1 cup of brown sugar.
I used a combination of the hard Mexican sugar and regular brown sugar. Roughly about ½ of each. I have since made this recipe with just the hard Mexican brown sugar found in specialty sections or stores, with excellent results. If you are unsure, do ½ and ½ or just regular brown sugar.
I let the wine sit for roughly 30-45 minutes, then cleared out the spices. Once the spices were skimmed from the wine, I poured everything into a clean bottle and served.
This is really good to drink. Almost to good, you can get very toasted on the hippocras and never realized you drank 2 bottles worth on a cold night!