Introduction: Spicy Medieval Drink: Le Clairet.
Hello everyone! I don't know about you, but I am a little obsessed with food, especially medieval recipes. In my first instructables, I wanted to share with you a medieval French recipe that can be found in the Viandier de Taillevent, which was probably written by Guillaume Tirel. He used to cook for both king Charles V and Charles VI at the end of the XIV century.
Although those recipes are written in French, French from that time is really different from todays. Even though I can read it, a lot of people can't and mistakes are easily made. Therefore I also used a book written by Jeanne Bourin (Cuisine médiévale pour tables d'aujourd'hui, 1983). In this book, she lists recipes from several medieval sources (including the one we discussed) and "translates" them. I wanted you to be able to enjoy this glorious recipe!!
You can remain historically accurate or feel free to make some changes concerning the spices (if you do not like one or the other). I actually used red wine for the clairet, but it should have been white. Ingredients may vary, deliciousness does not!
You are going to learn how to make "clairé", cooked wine with honey and spices.
If you like it, I would greatly appreciate a vote! :)
Step 1: Getting the Ingredients
Let's get ready. I adapted the proportions as to use a bottle of wine, as it is rarer nowadays to find a liter of wine. You are going to need:
- A bottle of wine, white (for accuracy) or red. Don't use bad wine, but don't splurge either!
- 375g of honey
- 10g cinnamon
- 15/20g ginger, powdered or grated. If you grate it, don't use as much as it is stronger.
- 2 or 3 crushed cloves
- Table spoon rose water or rose petals (which I used).
You are also going to need a piece of tightly woven cloth to put the spices in.
Step 2: Making It!
Pour the wine in a large enough pot and put on medium fire. In the meantime, put the spices on a tight cloth and knot it. Be sure to make a nice knot, it will save you trouble.
Dunk it in the wine and make sure it is nice and full of wine, just like you afterwards!
When the wine has heated a little, add the honey and stir it in. If you put it early, it won't melt as quick but it is no big deal. You can also put the rose water in. Stir well with a wooden spoon and keep doing so. I find that pressing the little baggie quite often helps the flavor to really set.
Bring it twice or thrice to a boil and keep stirring.
You will notice that a glorious smell is seeping form your kitchen. Your are saving on scented candles. Hurray!
Step 3: Bottling It and Enjoying It.
Once your wine has boiled, wait for it to cool a bit. Remove the knotted cloth/baggie and squeeze it so you don't leave any goodness in it.
Select an appropriate bottle or container, I had to choose between old lemonade and beer bottles, think of it as recycling! I had three different sized bottles and I chose the medium one. It is .75 liter, just like a wine bottle, but as the wine reduced somewhat it fits easily. Use a funnel as not to spill any delicious drops! I took the picture during the process, it is much fuller than that.
You can either keep it cold in the fridge or at room temperature if you want to consume it right away. If not, it should keep at least a year or two in the cellar! It is fantastic with dessert or wine, but be creative and enjoy it the way you prefer! I may also add that it is excellent when you have a cold and/or a sore throat. Two birds with one stone!
I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I do!! It so happens that I entered a couple of contests: home brewing and outside my comfort zone (as it is my first!); I would appreciate it if you gave me a vote! :D