Usquebath, 1655

Thoughts: Aqua Vitae is first mentioned in the Irish annals in 1405, when a chieftain apparently died of over-drinking the stuff. By the time of Henry VIII, it had moved from a wine-based distillation to a grain-based one. The name is a partial Anglicizing of the Gaelic “uisge beatha”, which, like “aqua vitae”, also means…

Raspberry Cordial

Thoughts: I was delighted to find this recipe, which dates back to 1717, in┬áThe Accomplished Housekeeper. I made a batch, and after a few months was terribly disappointed to find it harsh and not at all pleasant to drink. Dejected, I put the bottle away, and wrote it off as a failure. Happily, I recently…

Dried Elderberry Cordial

    To help augment the posts that rely on fermentation (much slowed by the chilly temperatures in my apartment), I’ve started some cordials and infusions to see me through the winter and into spring, and the first to be ready is this elderberry cordial. I think I probably first stumbled onto the concept of…