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.
14th Century Ypocras (Spice Mix for Wine)
(each spice bag makes 750ml)
- Place one of the spice bags in a saucepan and add a bottle of red (or white) wine.
- Add 6 or 7 tbs of Demerara sugar.
- Bring the wine slowly almost to the boil, then remove from the heat and allow to sit for a few minutes. You can leave the bag in longer for a stronger flavour.
- Remove the spice bag, and pour the Ypocras into glasses and serve.