Thursday, 4 August 2005

Tudor Love of Sweet Spiced Wine

In the last decade the English have developed a taste for wine and are now said to consume more wine than the French. In Tudor times however, wine was a favourite drink, especially a type of very sweet wine made in the Mediterranean, most notably in the Greek town of Monemvasia and certain parts of Cyprus. The secret was in the fact that the grapes, although ripe in the end of July, were not picked until September. They would then dry them out a bit for 3 days, after which they would squeeze the juice out of them, put it in jars, which were then buried. The contents would ferment and the end product would be an extremely sweet wine, which was very expensive.

The Tudors often liked their wine to be spiced, an example of which was Hippocras which had been drunk since the Middle Ages. The spices used were usually a mixture of ginger, cloves and to nutmeg, to which they would also add 4lb of sugar per gallon of wine.

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