For the Twelve Days of Christmas we are offering a collection of our three spice mixes for wine, cider or ale, along with two free spice packs of Long Pepper and Grains of Paradise.
This collection includes:
1 pack of 14th Century Ypocras (Spice Mix for Wine) (makes 2x750ml)
1 pack of 14th Century Clarrey (Spice Mix for Wine) (makes 2x750ml)
1 pack of Lambswool (makes 500ml)
1 pack of Grains of Paradise
1 pack of Long Pepper
Ypocras (also known as Hypocras) is made by mixing wine with sugar and spices, most notably cinnamon, and possibly heated, and is is what we recognise today as a ‘mulled wine’. After steeping the spices in the sweetened wine for a day, the spices were strained out through a conical cloth filter bag called a manicum hippocraticum or Hippocratic sleeve, originally devised by the 5th century BC Greek physician Hippocrates to filter water, hence the name Hippocras. This recipe is based on one from the Forme of Curye from the early 1390s, and so is probably the earliest surviving recipe. It was usually made with red wine, but can be made with white wine, and served hot or cold.
Clarrey is made by adding wine to honey and spices; the name comes from the Latin vinum claratum, which means ‘clarified wine’. The name survives today as ‘claret’, a dry, red wine. This Clarrey recipe comes from the 14th century collection of recipes, The Forme of Cury, written in the 1390s. Clarrey - or "claree" - is mentioned by Chaucer in both the Knight's Tale and the Merchant's Tale. “He drynketh yppocras, claree, and vernage (sweet Italian wine), Of spices hoote, to encressen his corage” (Chaucer, Canterbury Tales). Try it hot or cold.
Lambswool is a drink that dates back far into medieval times and is variously made with ale or cider. It is the drink normally associated with Wassailing on Twelfth Night. The 17th century poet, Robert Herrick gives a recipe for it for Wasailling: “Next crown a bowl full, With gentle lamb's wool: Add sugar, nutmeg, and ginger, With store of ale too; And thus ye must do, To make the wassail a swinger”. There is debate about the origin of the name, whether it relates to Lammas (1st August), but it more likely refers to the appearance of the baked-apple pulp on the surface of the drink.