Fortified Blood Orange Wine, 1690s

Blood Orange Wine from 1690s Lucayos Cookbook
Blood Orange Wine, 1690s


The Lucayos Cookbook uses predominantly raisin-based fruit wines, and so far I’ve found them to be interesting and tasty. This version is unique in that it is fortified with brandy after fermentation, giving it a bit of an extra kick. To stay closer to Game of Thrones, I swapped the Seville (civil) oranges called for in the original for blood oranges; I’d be curious to try the original, too!

The brandy version is very strong, with a touch of orange flavor about halfway through. After two months, the brandy and orange flavors are still a bit harsh, but it’s drinkable.

After four months, it has melded beautifully. The flavor is smooth, familiarly a fortified wine, with traces of citrus and grapey raisin.  You might expect an orange wine to be sweet, but this one is not. It has a full bodied heaviness from the citrus peel that almost tastes of grapefruit, but in the bouquet and the finish the sweetness of the oranges is a distinct and flavorful counterpoint to the heavier punch of the brandy.

In the future, the only change I might make is to add a single spice of some sort, probably either cinnamon or ginger, to give it a bit more complex flavor. A touch of hibiscus, for both flavor and to preserve that characteristic blood orange color, would also not go amiss.

Suggested Location:

It’s got to be Dorne, all the way. In addition to having “strongwine”, the Dornish enjoy blood oranges with nearly every meal. They grow around the terrace of the Water Gardens in great abundance, and would be an ideal candidate 

Recipe for Blood Orange Wine

Makes 1 gallon       Initial Fermentation: 8-10 days        Aging: at least 2 months

ABV: 8%

Cook’s Notes: I’ve downsized the recipe further, in order to make it fit in a 1 gallon carboy, and omitted the egg whites, as they were predominantly to help clarify the sugary water. ALSO! You may want to employ a blow-off tube for the first few days of fermentation; the sugar content in the raisins will ensure that the mixture turns into a brewzilla.

Lucayos, #75, To make orange wine: To eight gallons of water, sixteen pounds of dry sugar and the whites of eight eggs well beaten. Let it boile as long as any skim arises; taking it off as it rises. Just before you take it off the fire, put in the yellow peels of a hundred of civile oranges. Let them have one boile. Have ready wash’d and cut eight pound of malagas, pour the boiling liquor upon them and let it stand till its almost cold. Peel off the white of the oranges as clean as you can. Mash the oranges to pieces withe your hands and take out all the seeds you can. To every gallon of liquor allow eight oranges. When mixed, work it with ale yeast. Let it stand in the tubb eight days. Stirring it every day. Then strain it off and put it into your vessell with the fresh peels of twelve oranges, two quarts of the best brandy. When it have done working stop it down and let it stand till fine, before you bottle it. In two months or ten weeks it will be fine. -Lucayos Cookbook, 1690s

Ingredients for 1 Gallon:

  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 lb sugar
  • 12 orange peels
  • 1/2 lb. raisins, roughly chopped
  • 8 blood oranges (save the peels)
  • 1 packet ale yeast
  • 1.5  fresh peel
  • 1/2 cup brandy

Heat water and sugar, while stirring. Add the orange peels, bring to a boil, then allow to cool just slightly. Add the raisins to your 1 gallon jug, or other primary fermenter, then pour about half the orangey water over them. Mash the peeled oranges, then add to liquid. Pour over enough of the remaining orangey water to bring the level up to about 2″ below the neck of the bottle. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, pitch the yeast. Attach airlock, and let sit for 8-10 days, or until the airlock is no longer bubbling. Strain, pour over fresh orange peels, and add brandy. Let sit 10 weeks minimum.

Rack the wine into a clean carboy, and press any remaining liquid out of the fruit pulp. Allow the wine to sit for at least a day until the yeast has settled, then bottle, taking the usual precautions.


For variety’s sake, I’ve also included two as-yet-untested recipes that I stumbled upon while researching this wine. They are both a bit more like cordials, rather than proper wines, as the orange peels are set to infuse spirits. However, the second includes some sack, an old fashioned type of sherry, so could arguably be a sort of orange “wine”. The first has such an interesting selection of ingredients that I’d love to see what the final flavor combination would be.

The Jewell House of Art and Nature, Sir Hugh Platt, 1594, How to give a prettie grace both in tast and propertie, unto the spirit of wine: If you infuse the same uppon the rinde of a civel sower Orange, or Lymon, you shall finde a pleasaunt and comfortable taste thereby, or if you woulde not have the same descried by his colour, you may redistill the spirit so tincted in balneo. Some give a tuch unto the spirit of wing with rosemary, some with annis seedes, some with sweet fennell seedes: som with one seed, or hearbe, and some with another, by infusing the same a day or two upon them.

Queenlike Closet,  1672. To make Spirit of Oranges or of Limons: Take of the thickest rin’d Oranges or Limons, and chip off the Rinds very thin, put these Chips into a Glass-bottle, and put in as many as the Glass will hold, then put in as much Malago Sack as the Glass will hold besides; stop the bottle close that no Air get in, and when you use it, take about half a spoonful in a Glass of Sack

Blood Oranges


10 Comments Add yours

  1. harbqll says:

    You’ve mentioned several times the need for a ‘blow-off tube’ when dealing with raisins. I think I know what you mean, but could you post a picture?

    1. Chelsea says:

      Great question! The above are a couple of ways to do it, but I like to use this way

      The advantage to the tube method is that it drains into the smaller secondary container, meaning that if all goes well, you should stay mess-free. And depending on the size of tubing, it can often fit right over a disassembled airlock.

    2. kingsley says:

      I like to use a tube about 25mm wide (1″) that fits snuggly into the hole on the top of my fermenter (as in the linked photo from Chelsea).

      The important thing is that the tube is wide enough to take whatever the ferment pushes up. If it’s potentially going to push up soaked raisins, make sure the tube is big enough to take it. The tube prevents catastrophic failure of the air-lock mechanism simply by up-scaling the lock. The alternative is cleaning fermentables off your ceiling.

  2. Bekador says:

    A “blow-off tube” aka airlock prevents intake of unwanted air/organism during the fermentation while giving a release to the through fermentation generates gases ( preventing exploding bottles and flying glass, not to mention a whole mess of sticky stuff to clean up): or

    I prefer the second stlye, because the first style can get the whole water blown out during a strong fermentation.

    1. Bekador says:

      Link does not work for ge, always get “an error has occured”

      1. kingsley says:

        This is the link that google returns when you search: “Lucayos Cookbook”

        The previous link must have a time-lock in it, i did test it before posting.

  3. Linda says:

    I’m about at day 10 of the initial fermenting process, I have the wine fermenting in a Copper Tun fermenter (I don’t have a glass carboy so I’m making do) and I have a few questions before undertaking the next steps in the recipe. I’m a newb to homebrewing so please bear with me.

    1. When you say “Strain, pour over fresh peels…” if you mean actually clearing out the original peels and raisin content and then adding in new, fresh peels and brandy once the liquid has been cleared of the fruit pulp? Could you please explain this step in more detail?

    2. Also, at the end of the 2 months are you meant to strain it yet again before letting it sit for another day before bottling?

    3. What would happen if I strained nothing out of it and left all the fruit pulp in as is plus the added fresh peels for the 2 months?

    4. Half a cup of brandy sounds like an awful lot for such a small amount of wine, especially as it’s fermenting on its own. How will it affect the taste or otherwise if I was to halve this? Would you recommend against halving it? I am in Australia and I used champagne yeast for this batch which apparently will mean about 8-9% alcohol content just from that as I understand.

    5. I reread your post (again) after everything was in the fermenter and fermenting away and I noticed your comments about adding in spice for depth of flavour. As I missed this in my initial approach to this project, can I add in some cinnamon at this point? Perhaps boil it in a couple of cups of water and let it cool down to room temperature and then add it in when I add the brandy? Is that a possibility or is there a better way to do it or not at all?

    6. What sort of bottles would you recommend using to bottle this?

    Sorry for so many questions. Thanks in advance.

    1. Chelsea says:

      Alrighty, it’s been a while since I made this, but since I wrote terrible instructions, I’ll help where I can. 🙂

      1. Yes, the original directions indicate pouring the steeped wine over new, fresh orange peels. I doubt you’d lose much by skipping this step, but if you have a few oranges handy, it can’t hurt.

      2-3. The racking/straining step is important because it gets the wine off of the dead yeast lees, which can make a brew bitter. I’m not really sure what I was going for in my original directions, but my suggestion would be: Let the wine ferment down until it has stopped working at all, and the lees have settled. Rack/strain into a clean container, avoiding the sediment at the bottom of your primary fermenter as best as possible. You can pour over fresh peels or not, as available.

      4-5. Champagne yeast will probably make for a more alcoholic base wine than ale yeast, so you could likely halve the brandy. There are all sorts of charts and diagrams online to assist in the process of fortifying wine, but remember that it’s supposed to be on the strong side! For the spice, you could likely just let the cinnamon stick sit in the brandy for a short period before adding the brandy to the wine. I think that would give it that good hint of spice.

      6. I used flip top bottles when I made this, but I have since transitioned to a corker, and can’t recommend it enough!

  4. Linda says:

    Thank you for the reply! I just have a few more clarifying questions.

    1-3. I have plenty of oranges to use for fresh peels so that’s not an issue. So are you saying that at the end of the first 8-10 days of fermenting I definitely should strain the liquid, trash the old steeped fruit pulp, pour over fresh peels and let it sit for another 10 weeks like that? If so, does lifting the fruit pulp out with a slotted spoon qualify as straining for this first part? And then again after the 10 week wait strain before racking for another day pre-bottling?

    4-5. Thanks for this. I will review the charts to be sure. If I leave the cinnamon stick to steep in the brandy for a few hours before I add it in to the mix would I also need to throw the stick into the fermenter with the brandy when adding in?

    6. Does the colour of the bottle matter? Brown, green, clear? I know limoncello is commonly bottled in clear bottles which is why I ask.

    Sorry if it seems I’m asking the same question again but I just want to be clear on details.

    Thanks again in advance.

Leave a Reply to Chelsea Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s