Tag: RECIPE

BLUBEC – BLUEBERRY WINE RECIPE

Blueberry Wine 14 weeks
Last years blueberry wine at 14 weeks.

The Novocastrian Vintners Gazette is now two years old and it has pushed me to try refine my techniques, ideas and recipes to get the best I can out of the fruit I use. In all that time blueberry wine seems to have eluded a decent write up despite being a personal favourite. So far I have made some very nice medium bodied blueberry wines that age excellently. Anyone who says blueberry is best drunk young has not waited until it undergoes an amazing transformation at about 18 months into a complex fruity wine with an oddly sherbet undertone.

Now with a little more experience and a lot more ambition I am hoping to adapt the recipe and techniques to make a full bodied red wine managing as many variables as I can to make the best wine I can. Using a Malbec as an influence I plan to create a jazzy little Bluebec with full fruit aged on the leas in an extended maceration, with high alcohol and tannin content, strongly oaked and aged for three years.

Before any grape nerds throw bricks through my window… Yes, I know its not made with Malbec grapes. No, I don’t live in France or South America. Yes, I understand these processes are used in many styles of wine. No, I don’t care that you prefer a different wine. Yes, I know I just made up a name for my wine and its totally meaningless…

So recipe, acidity, temperature regulation, maceration time and pressing the skins have all been updated from the traditional recipe I have used earlier. This will be as much a master class I can do and by “master” I mean my usual cack handed flight into the unknown.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL SIMPLE RECIPE

The recipe has been overhauled with 200g extra of blueberries taking it to a total of 2kg of fruit per British Gallon of wine. To add extra vinocity the raisin content has similarly increased from 250g to 400g with a stronger tea brewed to add tannin. The raisins and tannin both add body that will play off against the higher fruitiness of the berries. It should be noted that as I am Britain I am using European blueberries that are considered to be less flavourful than US varieties and most blueberry wine recipes I have seen have been American based using less fruit.

Blueberry acid test
My first time testing acidity with a T.A. kit.

Acidity has been monitored more closely and adjusted with tartaric acid used rather than the citric acid from lemons. Acidity seems to be one of the dark arts of wine making that an amateur can hope to adjust but not massively monitor. Traditionally I have used citric acid by squeezing a few lemons into my must. Citric acid is only present in grapes in low quantities with tartaric acid being far more dominant. As grape wine informs the general taste and sensation of fruit wines I have decided to ditch citric acid entirely. Citric acid that can be described as too sour at a basic level and too “fresh” or “artificial” in taste. The tartaric acid will soften the taste of the acidity but still provide enough stability for the wine to age for a decent enough time. Compared to tartaric acid, citric acid is more volatile than other acids and well liked by bacteria that can convert it easily to acetic acid creating a vinegar taste in low quantities or out right vinegar in extreme cases. There are acid blends that have a mix of tartaric, malic and citric acid in a 2:1:1 ratio which I may look into in future but that will need a lot more investigation.

 

Temperature management was used through out making the wine and will continue to do so as it ages in the coldest part of the house to try and match a cellar at 15°C. Initially the blueberries had a cold maceration for 5 days. The cold soak allows water to penetrate the skins to extract flavour, colour and aroma before the yeast is pitched and it enters fermentation and an alcoholic maceration begins. To do this have a sterile pot for the fruit, cover it with as much water you can and add a campden tablet as insurance against wild yeasts and bacteria. Cover the surface of the water with cling film to stop new bacteria entering and minimise the chance of oxidation. Sitting at 7° C for five days will allow a head start for certain compounds like anthocyanins and phenolics can be extracted just like grapes in a traditional wine.

Blueberry crush
Pre cold soak / post cold soak / crushed with water added

After the cold maceration the berries were mashed and the remaining water, minced raisins and pectic enzyme added. As the pectin broke down over 24 hours the must was allowed to naturally rise to room temperature of 21° C. Sugar is added to achieve a Starting Gravity of 1.08 and then the R56 yeast added. I did one additional dose of sugar and nutrient four days into the fermentation to further raise the ABV to a potential of 14% as it fermented. The natural rise in temperatures, stepped sugar addition and yeast nutrient addition when the yeast could possibly need it were all intended for a easy fermentation with no peaks to shock the yeast in their environment.

Blueberry fermentation temperature 2
Starting temepreature rising to 26°C during fermentation.

Red wines are generally fermented “hot” between 25 to 30° C but lacking a Mediterranean climate I cannot usually hope to get to those temperatures naturally. I have invested in an immersion heater to raise it gently towards this point but in the current summer weather I was lucky enough to be getting 26° C shown on the adhesive thermometer and the partying yeast will probably have added a degree inside too. Stray too close or over 30° and you can “cook” the fruit for off tastes or stress the yeast creating sulphur dioxide. In the colder months when I make an elderberry wine I may well need the heaters though.

 

Blueberry punch down
Gentle punch down kept the fruit wet and allowed CO2 to escape.

Thrice a day the must was gently stirred to mimic a pump over in a commercial winery. Just enough to agitate the fruit and re-submerge to keep it moist. As fermentation started to radically slow I needed nerves of steel to add another new process with an Extended Maceration. The idea is simple with an extra three days sit the crushed fruit gets an even longer window for more flavour to be extracted. There is also possibly the chance of a little micro oxygenation to aid tannin binding as the carbon dioxide given off lessens and there can be a small amount of contact with oxygen. During this time I chose not to stir the fruit or open the primary fermenter as less carbon dioxide is available to protect the wine – more agitation means potential oxygen dissolved. The extended maceration has its pros and cons as it not only allows extra fruit flavour to be extracted from skins but also more tannin with even harsher tannins extracted from the seeds. The micro oxygenation is risky as it is done totally on faith with out any way to monitor it as an amateur. The idea is that small levels of oxygen allow a greater level of flavour complexity to build and tannins to bind with richer colour extracted and fixed. Leave it too long and micro turns to macro. Full on oxygenation will simply ruin the wine turning it to sour vinegar. Luck and the more stable tartaric acid should aid it though.

Blueberry press
TL:Blueberries at the end of fermentation and extended maceration. R:Free run juice just before the fruit was pressed. BL:Blueberries post crush.

Pressing the fruit allowed me to extract every last drop from the blueberries to get a rich thick juice as it entered secondary fermentation and bulk ageing with the 10g of oak chips. The colour is richer than I have ever managed to get with blueberry with a lovely thick red hue. The wine will sit for one possibly two months as I wait for the lees sediment to settle with another rack and possibly a malolactic culture added if it does not happen spontaneously.

Bluebrry wine 3
Bluebec at 14ish days old.

BLUBEC BLUEBERRY WINE RECIPE – 4.5litres

Full bodied tannic red wine at 14%ABV. Red wine yeast needed (I used R56) Aged with oak chips and open two or three years after making. Suitable for malolactic fermentation.


RECIPE
2kg of blueberries
400g of raisins
3.5l water
1kg-ish sugar – aiming for max 1.10 SG through a stepped addition.
Tartaric acid to 0.6g/l
Strong tea
1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme
1/2 tsp. yeast nutrient
Yeast


METHOD
Cold soak the blueberries for 5 days in fridge with as much of the water as you can with a campden tablet to kill any possible infections. Stir once a day and keep the surface covered to stop infection and oxidation

FULL GUIDE TO COLD SOAK/MACERATION HERE HERE

On the fourth day mince the raisins to the 3.5 litres of water as it boils. Leave covered to cool

Raisins minced
Raisind minced allow far more vinocity to be extracted than those roughly chopped.

Pour the blueberries into primary fermenter and crush with a sanitised potato masher. Add the water and raisins then the pectic enzyme. Leave for 12 to 24 hours to get to room temperature.

Add the tea and sugar aiming for 1.08 SG using a hydrometer to measure.

Blueberry gravity 2
Initial gravity at 1.08 to ensure an easy start to fermentation. Additional sugar added to push it to 1.10 in total.

Adjust acidity to 6% then add the yeast according to the sachets instructions.

Cover and leave to start fermenting. Stir three times a day with a gentle punch down to resubmerge the fruit.

On day 4 add additional sugar to raise gravity by 0.2 and add half a tsp of yeast nutrient to aid the yeast.

Monitor fermentation and leave for three days once gravity reaches 1.01 or lower. Do not open or stir the wine after this for an extended maceration.

Squeeze or press the pulp getting as much into an airlocked demijohn for bulk ageing.
After five weeks to two month rack away from the lees and add 10g of medium oak chips and leave a further three months to age. If wanting a malolactic fermentation add the culture at this point.

Rack again if needed and bulk age. A year after starting all carbon dioxide should be expelled and no manual degassing needed.

Bottle. Keep in a cellar like environment and open the first bottle at two years of age.


 

Resources/inspiration/thefts:
http://teperbergwinery.co.il/en/essence-en/malbec/
http://www.wineland.co.za/wine-and-wood-barrel-fermentation-of-red-wines/
https://www.smartwinemaking.com/single-post/2017/06/30/Fermentation-Temperature-for-Wine
https://www.winesandvines.com/columns/section/24/article/60528/Winemakers-Heated-About-Fermentation
https://www.winebusiness.com/tools/?go=winemaking.calc&sid=5
http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/acidph.htm

Advertisements

FORAGED DANDELION WINE RECIPE

Very young dandelion wine
Very young dandelion wine

I have made dandelion wine before but it was a disaster. The flowers were damp and the taste once I eventually opened a bottle was a bit like licking a carpet. It has taken a few years for me to pluck up the courage to return to it. Having started this new batch I have a bit more understanding in wine making and a bit more of a willingness to experiment with the recipe.

The dandelions seem to be more of an undertone to the wine providing a gingerish base that is quite subtle and certainly less pronounced than an elderflower wine. Nettle, birch sap and rhubarb are also meant to be similarly subtle. To add a bit more depth lemon and/or orange zest and juice are added and some even add an inch of ginger for a kick. Body can be added with tea, raisins or white grape concentrate and I have an old recipe that threw in whole plants so the bitter roots would create a more beer like taste.

As the recipe is more of a guide I went with equal measures of lemon and some Seville orange juice and zest I had frozen. 500G of raisins added body and I relied on calyx rather than tea or tannin extract for the tannin content. As I plan to make this into a sparkling wine in 6 months I added enough sugar to get to SG 1.08 so that the extra EC1118 yeast and sugar ferments when added just before bottling. This is the first wine where I have added demerara sugar as a quarter of the ratio rather than just plain white table sugar and I imagine it will compliment the dandelion flavour.

Dandelions 3
Picked piddleybeds – took about an hour

Dandelions are the most well dressed of flowers with their mop top of yellow petals that turn into an wig of doom when the seeds blow off to disperse the seeds. Because their seeds are an indiscriminate carpet bomb that can take over a garden or allotment my neighbours were more than happy to let me pick all the fresh dandelion heads I could get my hands on. I try to stay away from parks that might have sprayed with weed killers or worse dog pee.

 

Try to hunt them out in a warm spring morning when the pollen is at its highest to get as much flavour as possible. Bees love dandelions as they are one of the first flowers to blossom so try not to take them until a range of flowers are in season. If you see any that are not perfectly round give them a miss as slugs will have nibbled them. An equal volume of loose petals to the demijohn you will ferment in are needed though you can get by will a few less or a few more.

Once the flowers are picked the petals need to be saved and the green calyx thrown away. A few bits of calyx will inevitably be picked and these add a little tannin but try to remove as much as possible. There is a knack to efficient separation and this needs a firm squeeze of the base of the flower to pop the petals off as you feather them away. This is long hard work so get some good music playing or practice your Zen And The Art Of Wine Making mantras. I sadly had the neighbours kids arguing for a solid hour. At the end you will have stained fingers like a chain smoking tramp – probably best not to do this on an unprotected work surface.

Pick pluck steep
Picked, plucked and steeped

As the taste is light and subtle I wanted to keep as much as possible for the bottle. Some choose to boil the dandelions twice once at the start and again at he end of the steep but I chose to simply blanche them with the boiled water and let them steep. I also fermented in a stainless steel pan (don’t use aluminium as the acid in the must will oxidise the metal!) to dissipate the heat and slow the fermentation so that aroma does not “boil off.” Once in the demijohn I am placing it in the cupboard under the stairs which is the coldest part of the house to keep a long slow and cool ferment. In six months I will turn it into a sparking wine and hopefully next spring it will ready to drink.

 

DANDELION WINE – 4.5L

Light floral white wine suitable to turn into a sparkling wine. EC1118, CY17 or any white wine yeast is suitable. Alternatives: Divide the lemon content between lemon and oranges. Ginger can be added for a kick, tannin or tea for more body and sugar can be divided between light demerara and white table sugar.

RECIPE
The petals from enough complete dandelion flowers to loosely fill a gallon container
4.5 litres of boiling water
1kg-ish sugar to 1.09SG
Zest and juice of 4 lemons
500g chopped raisins
Yeast
Yeast nutrient
Pectic enzyme

 

METHOD

Pick enough flowers that would loosely fill a demijohn.

Picked dandelions
Took an hour to pick

Remove petals. Some green is good for taste but remove most.

 

Picked and plucked
Took two hours to pluck!

Boil four litres of water and pour over the petals. Cover and leave for 2 days for flavour to seep. When the water is cold pectic enzyme can be added to destroy pectin and reduce haze.

 

Boil another half litre of water and add the lemon/orange juice, zests and chopped raisins.

Sieve out the petals then combine them

Petals seived out
Petals removed

Stir in the sugar until 1.090SG.

 

SG 1.08
SG1.08 will make an 11%ABV wine. Increase to SG1.09 for 13%

Once cool add the yeast and yeast nutrient and cover in primary. Stir twice a day.

 

Rack into secondary when fermentation slows and rack again when it has totally stopped at about five weeks.

Day one and seven of fermentation
Fermentation at one and seven days and in secondary.

Rack again if sediment builds and bottle after 6 months

 

Drink after about a year after pitching the yeast

CREATING SPARKLING WINE

The first sparkling wine I made nearly took my eye out with the explosive force when we popped the cork. After Ms Gazette had stopped laughing and the cat was found we had a great strawberry champagne that was far beyond what I had imagined I could make and was better than the commercial bottle I used as a control. The second was a little nerve racking as it was 12 bottles for a friends wedding but that all went swimmingly too… he still talks to me at least.

strawberry-champagne
Strawberry Sham-pagne

I already plan to make an elderflower shampagne and might make a dandelion fauxseco this year and have just turned last years gooseberry wine into the latest batch of er… sparkling wine. Crisp dry whites are probably best but I may well try and carbonate a second run medium bodied elderberry & blackberry wine about this time next year. You’re making it so go crazy as the world is your lobster.

I am assuming that like me you are making a small batch of champagne – six to twelve bottles using a British gallon or two of wine. If you are making a bigger batch have a read through this exhaustive guide by Jack Keller: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/sparkling.asp

The process is surprisingly easy using a simplified “méthode champenoise” to create a second fermentation in the bottle. As the new fermentation happens the gas is trapped and dissolves in the wine creating all those lovely bubbles. As there is a lot of pressure created you must use champagne bottles. They are made with thicker glass, stronger necks and may well be shaped or have a domed base to deal with the pressure. Along with those you need some hollow plastic corks and cages. The bottle is stored upside down so that the yeast collects in the corks cavity and either compacts enough to be removed when opened or the bottle can be riddled – freezing the wine in the cap then swapping it for a new sediment free one. The cage and upturned bottle keeps the cork in place so the pressure does not create a wine time bomb popping the cork out.

Sparkling wine corks
Hollow plastic “corks” for sparkling wine.

There are a few yeasts that can be used for the second fermentation and the most popular is EC1118 though others like Premier Curvee, WLP715 or CL23 are all available. The yeast does not need to be used for the the initial fermentation when making the base wine so you can match two yeasts to make the best base wine and then carbonate with the sparkling wine yeast. Most people will just happily plough through with EC1118 as it is easy, dependable and tastes excellent.

The gooseberry wine was over six months old and at the age I normally bottle. When making it I did not use any campden after the primary fermentation so that there is little to hamper the new yeast as it is already being introduced to hostile alcohol rich environment. The wine was totally dry at 0.99 gravity so I know how much it will carbonate as the sugar is directly responsible for the carbon dioxide produced thus pressure created. No sediment was falling being nice a clear and almost totally degassed naturally. 17g of sugar will make an American style four atmosphere fizz and 25g creates a French style six atmosphere fizz. Sparkling wines are always more carbonated than bears that will be between one and a half to three atmospheres. If using a young wine with lots of carbon dioxide still dissolved plan for the US style four atmospheres for safety.

Sparkling wine kit and ingredients
All you need to turn your wine to sparkling wine.

Two days work will need to happen before bottling so make sure you have the nights set aside. Also kit needs to be scrupulously sanitised as you go.

First a starter needs to be made to kick start the second fermentation. Separate 750ml of wine from the demijohn into a sanitised litre bottle or jar. Reseal the demijohn and pop it away safely, as there is head space here is a slight chance of oxidation but unlikely. The wine needs 13g of sugar and perhaps a 1/4 tsp of yeast nutrient stirred in before adding the yeast. Some yeasts like Vintners Harvest/Mangrove Jacks have the nutrient already present so have a check. When the yeast is added seal the bottle as you would with any other fermentation with a bung and airlock and allow the yeast to sit and hydrate for a couple of hours. Some yeast may float some may fall but if it is happy it will start to swell and dissolve and it is then ready to stir in thoroughly.

Sparkling wine seperated
Starter and base wine separated. The yeast makes the starter look paler.

There will never be a heavy bubbling during this second fermentation as the yeast is really pushing towards its limits in an alcohol rich environment. There may be small bubbles rising, some may collect on the surface and there will certainly be gentle airlock activity. The must should be kept at more or less room temperature rather than in a cooler bulk ageing environment.

Sparkling wine starter
Happy yeast fermenting in the starter.

After 24 hours add 40ml of sanitised water to dilute the new alcohol and add another 13g of sugar to feed the yeast and leave for another 24 hours. This time will allow the yeast to acclimatise as much as possible and minimise the chance of a stuck second fermentation.

It might be a good time to start and clean and sanitise the bottles and caps at this point. The bottles should be spotlessly clean as always and the caps can either be boiled for ten minutes and left to cool or sanitised in campden or no rinse sanitiser. If boiling the caps to sterilise them be sure to make sure they are cool and thus strong enough to push into the bottles. Hot caps are soft and deform easily!

Recombining to make the sparkling wine
Recombining the base wine, starter and sugar.

Once the starter is viable and happy the remainder of the wine should be prepared. Decide on either a four or six atmosphered wine. Four atmospheres will need 17g of sugar added per bottle thus 102g per British gallon. A European style six atmosphere wine will need 25g per bottle thus 150g per British gallon. Add the sugar to the demijohn and stir into the wine thoroughly. Then add the starter and stir thoroughly again.

Filling the bottles
Wheeeeeee…

This sugar and yeast rich wine is now ready to pour into the champagne bottles and cap. Personally I choose to use a jug rather than an auto-syphon as it allows the wine to be stirred between pours dispersing the dense sugar and yeast evenly. Cages are essential should be used twisting to get a good tight seal – this may take a few attempts as the brittle wire will tear if over tightened. Once capped upend and stand on their heads and cellar. After a month give the bottle a swift twist to encourage the sediment to settle into the caps but resist the temptation to shake the bottles.

 

Sparkling wine cork and cage
Caging wild sparkling wine is not cruel.

Fermentation may take about a month but the originating fruit will determine how long the wine should be matured. Rhubarb and gooseberry will need at least 18 months from the initial fermentation, elderflower about a year and strawberry possibly as little as six to nine months.

PARSNIP WINE AND SHERRY RECIPE

Parsnip wine 7 days old
Parsnip wine entering secondary

Give people a glass of parsnip wine and they will be surprised to hear it is made from an albino carrot. The wine has a naturally sweet taste with an earthy undertone and reportedly tastes like a Medeira – oddly a wine I traditionally hate. Personally I do think it is a sherry like wine and this year I may thoroughly oxidise a few bottles to see if it can get closer to that style.

If you are making this with your own crop wait until the first overnight frost as this changes the starches into sugars. If the parsnips are shop bought they will be loaded with sugar already. When boiling to extract flavour and sugars do not over do it as the remaining starch will be liberated and take an age to settle in bulk ageing – it is not impossible but does take a number of months at least. Most recipes suggest boiling roughly chopped cubes but I have better success with grated parsnips as this takes less time to boil and less time exposed to heat that could potentially destroy flavour. The flesh will be soft but not mushy and if they are finely chopped almost see through.

Parsnip wine is cheap and easy to make with few ingredients. No tannin needs to be added and it is in good balance naturally. A little extra body is generally needed either from raisins or bananas but some people prefer to leave it au naturel with a more “whiskey” like flavour. Lemon zest, orange juice and zest or ginger can be added for various different flavour additions.  I was considering using lime juice as this pairs well with beetroot wine and I thought this may similarly benefit but that is an experiment for next year.

Parsnip wine fermentation
Primary fermentation at two and five days looks horrible!

Leaving the wine pays dividends and it will noticeably mature between the 12 to 18 month mark though it could be left for a couple of years I’m sure.

PARSNIP WINE 4.5 litres

1.75kg parsnips
1 to 1.3kg sugar to 1.09SG
4.5L water
500g raisins
1 lemon juice and zest
2 oranges juice and zest
1 tsp pectolase
1 tsp yeast nutrient
White wine yeast

Parsnip wine ingredients
Parsnip wine ingredients

Wash parsnips then chop and boil skins and all for 15 minutes, Flesh should be softened but not breaking up.

Parsnip wine slicing and boiling
Remove the woody tops but leave the skins when preparing

Strain the parsnips through muslin into primary fermentation and discard.

Add the raisins and zests while liquid is still hot.

Parsnip wine a
My giant industrial strainer got a chance to shine!

When cool add pectolase and leave for 12 to 24 hours to work.

Add sugar, lemon and orange juice and sugar to desired level.

Add yeast and nutrient then cover for primary fermentation.

PARSNIP JUST BEFORE BOTTLING
Colour mellows with age. This is just before bottling from a previous vintage.

Rack into secondary fermentation when it slows and rack when over. More may be needed if starch was boiled from the parsnips.

Age for one year at least and 18 months if you can.

ROSEHIP WINE RECIPE

Rosehip wine at 8 days
Rosehip wine at eight days old.

Rosehips as every one tells you are packed 10000% vitamin C and can destroy the cold virus at a hundred paces. Natures little apothecary cabinet wrapped up in a little red berry thing. Screw that were making wine.

Picked Rosehips
Harvested rosehips.

Rosehips can be harvested around September onwards and have a decent sized window to grab them. Traditionally they were picked after the first frost as this changes starches into abundant sugar in the flesh of the hips. Now we have freezers that can be picked when they are plump with a slight give when squeezed but not wrinkled or squishy. The freezer will do the job of a frost and means they can be kept indefinitely. If you cannot wait till the autumn dried rosehips are common in mung been selling health shops and brew shops online. Dried rosehip wine is made with a different ratio of hips as the extraction differs.

As I had a full compliment of wines ageing in all my demijohns I was unable to start the wine when I picked the rosehips. I sliced the woody end off the top and then froze them for a couple of months. Topping them means that the woodier taste will not infuse when the wine is in primary fermentation and the softer flesh is exposed to the water to extract as much flavour and sugar as possible. Slicing the tops was labourious and I was contemplating slicing them down the middle and removing the fur covered pips too. This was basically impossible as it would have taken an absolute age to do. The seeds have tannins in them and this adds body to the wine naturally rather than adding it with a tannin or tea additive.

Thawing rosehips
The frozen hips were allowed to defrost over night.

Once a demijohn freed up I left the hips in a sanitised stainless steel pan to defrost over night. A blanch of boiling water was used to kill any wild yeasts and bacteria that might have clung on during the freeze. I have seen a few differing ideas on preparing the hips but personally I did not want to chop them in a food blender as this will rupture the bitter seeds and there was no need to strenuously mash or boil the fruit either as the soft flesh purées easily during the fermentation.As rosehips are high in pectin I added pectic enzyme to break this down allowing a generous 24 hours for it to do its work.

Fermentation was gentle with the VR21 yeast I selected with little foam and a nice perfume given off as it happily bubbled away A slower fermentation means that aroma will kept better than a faster more vigerous fermentation. Any white wine yeast would probably do and EC1118 may be another good choice if you like the classic champagne taste. The flavour is seems more suited for a slightly sweet or sweet wine and would probably be good for a sparkling rosé. It tastes good even at a young age entering secondary fermentation but almost all reports state to leave it 2 years to mature. I am hoping that this may challenge the elderflower wine as a versatile floral white with the advantage it can be made in the autumn and winter months rather than the elderflower’s springtime harvest and ferment. A nice easy wine to make this is ideal for a beginner.

 

ROSEHIP WINE – 4.5 Litres

Floral fruity white/rose wine suitable to back sweeten or make into a sparkling wine. White wine yeast needed and should probably be un-oaked. Batonnage may be good to provide a more complex flavour. 24 months to age.

INGREDIENTS

1.5kg rosehips

About 1kg sugar to 1.08SG

Juice of 3 lemons

4.5l water

Yeast

Pectic enzyme

Rosehip wine ingredients
With so few ingredients this is an easy wine to make.

 

METHOD

Pick the rosehips and slice of the woody end and pick off any stems still left on. If before a frost has occurred freeze them for at least 24 hours (leave to defrost if frozen)

Mash the rosehips with a sanitised potato masher or rolling pin to break the flesh a little then pour over 4.5 litres of water and leave to return to room temperature. Add 1tsp of pectic enzyme and leave for 24 hours to allow pectin to be destroyed.

Pectolase and gravity
Pre and post pectic enzyme and hydrometer reading.

Add the juice of three lemons and the sugar until it hits 1.08SG and then pitch the yeast.

Leave to ferment to 1.01SG and then transfer into air-locked secondary fermentation by pouring through sanitised muslin/cheese cloth. The rosehips can be squeezed to extract maximum flavour if desired.

Fermentation at 1 day and 3 days
Top – fermentation begins. Bottom – day three of fermentation.

Rack if needed to remove the sediment that builds up at week five or six and then further if needed.

Bottle after six months – the wine is suitable to stabilise and back sweeten to your own taste. Drink two years after pitching the yeast.

 

SLOE GIN AND SLOE CHUTNEY

Sloe gin
Two year matured sloe gin

This year has seen a decent harvest of sloes by friends and I plan to forage a few to get the ripest I can. It compares nicely to the terrible harvest last year when I collected none. Two years ago was sloe nirvana with big fat sloes on every bush. I harvested enough for two types of wine that are fruity and suited to a Christmas tipple and great added to champagne. I also made two litres of sloe gin.

CLICK HERE FOR THE SLOE WINE RECIPE

Sloe gin 2
Sloe work

Sloe gin is the best flavoured gin you can get. Warm, sweet, slightly nutty with a deep taste that gets better if drunk slowly with a good tonic. The depth of taste is matched by the simplicity of the recipe and the hardest issue is leaving it long enough to mature. If the sloes are picked now it could be ready for Christmas, if left maturing another year it becomes deeper and richer and another year after that it becomes exceptional and far better than any commercial sloe gin I have drunk.

SLOE GIN – 750ml
250 to 400g sloes
750 ml gin. Best supermarket or Gordon’s. No need for anything more expensive.
125g white sugar (more to taste if you want once mature)
Rind of 1 orange (no pith)
1/4 cinnamon stick (recipes use too much in my view so that is why I only use half the amount)

Optional – I don’t think you need them as the sloes have a complex taste that improves with age – but this is your drink so tailor it to your tastes.
Cloves – no more than 3
1 blanched almond (boil a raw almond for exactly one minute)
3 coffee beans
Vanilla pod
1/4 star anise
Lemon zest

1. Freeze the sloes over night to bust the cells (it’s a myth that it needs to be done to turn starch to sugar, or that sloes need a frost to be ripe.)
2. Use a potato peeler to zest the orange – make sure there is no pith. Add all the ingredients together in a cleaned Kilner jar – about 1.5l does it. Shake it vigorously to get the sugar to start to dissolve.
3. Over the next two weeks little shake every day.
4. Leave it to sit happily in the dark at a cool temperature (the cupboard under the stairs is ideal)

Ready to drink by Christmas but can be left for up to two years. No need to remove the sloes if you bottle it.

.

Sloe Chutney
Sloe chutney

But wait! The sloes from sloe gin can be recycled into a kick ass chutney. What can be better than a sloe gin, cheese and some home made chutney on a cold winters night? I have paired the sloes with quince, another winter fruit and they compliment each other with one aromatic and one sour. The spices used compliment either one or the other main fruit. Apples are used to provide a sauce as floury apples like Pink Lady will puree as they are cooked.

 

Sloe chutney ingredients
Sloe chutney ingredients

The chutney needs a little time to prepare the sloes by squeezing the flesh off the stones. The easiest sloes are ones that have macerated in the gin for longest – another reason to leave it to mature for two years. Squeeze them top and bottom and most of the flesh pops away.

GINNED SLOE CHUTNEY
Sloes from sloe gin
3 quince
2 apples
2 red onions
2tsp cumin seed
2tsp mustard seed
1tsp coriander seed
½tsp fennel seed
½tsp cayenne pepper
½tsp pepper corns
1cm of cinnamon stick
2 oranges – juice and rind but no pith
400ml cider vinegar
300g demerara sugar

Chutney is not an exact science and ginger, lemon rind, raisins, apricots, cardamom, paprika and any number of other ingredients can be added or substiuted. The general ratio is 1kg of fruit and vegetables need 300ml of vinegar and 300g of sugar to preserve.

 

Prepping sloes
Preparing the sloes

1. Rinse the sloes removes from the sloe gin. Give a quick rinse to remove any tannin that has built up on them. Squeeze them holding the top and bottom to pop the flesh from the stones.
2. Throw the stones away and then use a food processor to mince the sloes to a reasonably fine mix. It does not need to be a puree.
3. Pop them in a heavy bottomed pan and then finely dice the onion and add, then the grated zest of the oranges.
4. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the spices to a fine powder and add to the pot.
5. Juice the orange and add along with the cider vinegar.
6. Peal and quarter a quince and cut out and discard the hard woody cores. Dice them into small pieces and stir them into the vinegar to stop them browning in the air. Repeat for the rest of the quince.
7. Repeat for the apples.
8. Add the sugar and stir all the mixture so that the sugar dissolves.

 

Prepping sloes 2
Sloes and orange zest awaiting other ingredients, fully mixed, simmered for an hour.

9. Turn on the heat and start to simmer the mixture. Stir regularly once it starts to bubble. Never boil but keep it lightly bubbling and stir every now and again so it does not stick to the base of the pot. Once the mixture becomes thick and there is no free liquid but a fudge/toffee like sugary coating remove from the heat.
10. Store in sealed sanitised jars and leave to mature for at least a month and preferably three before opening to eat. The chutney can save for at least two years if kept air tight in a cool space. If a jar is opened refrigerate.

 

BALANCED ELDERBERRY WINE

Eldberry wine 2017
Elderberry wine at nine days old.

Elderberry is the hardest wine I have made as it is so close to traditional wine with a clear comparison to grapes. Other fruit wines such as blackberry have a strong flavour of their base fruit that is the basis of their profile. Elderberries make a “purer” wine far more reliant on the balance of acidity, tannin and sweetness that is extracted as you ferment.

CLICK HERE FOR LAST YEARS WINE

AND ALSO HERE

I have constantly been refining how I make my elderberry wine and this year I am hoping that I will be closer to mastering it. First I needed the best berries I could get and I have foraged further than previous years and trying to pick only the ripest and tastiest I can find. Elderberries can ripen at different times, vary in taste from tree to tree and even which side of the tree that gets the most sun. I have found that trees on moist but well draining ground provide the sweetest berries with the fullest, fruitiest flavour. Being on a bank of a stream or unhindered by other thirsty trees seems to be best while trees on flat drier ground take longer to ripen. Trees on muddy water logged ground produce the most tannic and bitter elderberries with little sugar or flavour profile so are best avoided. When starting to make wines I never though I would be writing about elderberry “terroir!”

CLICK HERE FOR A GUIDE TO FORAGING ELDERBERRIES

Black and white elderberries
Black and sweeter white elderberries.

Choosing when to pick has been a test of will but is paying dividends. Virtually all clusters have had a taste test to make sure they are ripe before I pick and that they are from sweeter tasting trees. The best berries have a full fresh berry taste with a detectable sweetness and mouth feel is present as a “buttery” sensation – to me at least. Acidity and tannin is reduced in comparison to the more immature berries that look identical but have still not plumped up full of juice. This year I found two new species of elder tree. White elderberries are sweeter with the tiniest hint of elderflower to them. As they are so rare only five or so clusters could be harvested so they do not make up any detectable percentage of the wine. The other species that gives pink elderflowers provides overly bitter berries that have been left unused. These trees were easily identified as they had dark green leaves that were feathered and curled compared to the lighter oval leaves of the traditional elder tree.

Once home the clusters were rinsed to get dust, leaves and any spiders removed. The few hard, mushy, reddish or otherwise unwanted berries removed and then the good ones gently tickled from the stems. If there are too few for a full batch of wine I froze them ready for when there were enough.

Cold maceration
Cold Maceration – Picked, rinsed, covered in cold water then protected by two layers of clingfilm.

Although I had the best fruit I could fine and my recipe was good my methodology was next to get an over haul. Elderberries are rich in tannin with the skins and seeds being particularly packed full and I wanted to manage how it was extracted. Due to their small size it means there is a lot of skin and seeds in comparison to the juice – certainly more so than grapes and because of this tannin is the enemy when making elderberry wine. A cold soak allows the rich colour and aroma to be extracted from the skins and as it is an aqueous extraction it leaves the tannin seemingly untouched as it is only soluble in ethanol as the wine ferments.

CLICK HERE FOR A GUIDE TO COLD MACERATION

Elder wine post cold soak
Post cold soak the elderberries were crushed to release juice then sugar added to 1.08 or 1.09

Cold maceration had always been part of my method for elderberry wine so to further manage I intended to test two methods to limit tannin extraction. One is to press the juice totally from the berries after the cold maceration then add only half the skins to the must allowing only half the tannin available to be extracted. I never tested this as I had great results using not weight but time as the limiting factor. The elderberries were pressed two days into fermentation and then discarded. Doing this created a rich dark must that continued to ferment for another five days.

ressing Elderberries at 2 days
Squeezing the juice out. By hand will certainly be good enough but a press works wonders.

CLICK HERE FOR A ROUGH GUIDE TO TANNIN

Tannin seems to have been held back allowing the whole of the elderberry taste to shine through. The juice was far fruitier with a slight almost blackberry and deeper cherry like taste that I had not been able to maximise previously. This will take at yeast two years to mature, maybe even more but the admittedly crude taste test during fermentation has shown a rounder balanced wine than with. Hopefully I will be lucky like last year when spontaneous malolactic fermentation occurred mellowing acidity. Next year I will be further refining I hope.

ELDERBERRY WINE 4.5 Litres

Suitable yeasts – R56, Lalvin R2, D80, D254, Bergundy. Strong full bodied wine suitable for higher ABV of 13% Suitable for oaking and can be left totally dry or will a very slight back sweeten. Takes the longest of any fruit wine to mature at a minimum of 2 years. Skins can be used for a second run elderberry rose or an medium bodied elder & blackberry wine.

2kg elderberries
3.5L water
1kg-ish sugar to 1.09SG
Juice of one lemon
1tsp pectolase
1tsp yeast nutrient (optional)
Yeast

  1. Pick any elderberries and freeze until enough have been sourced.
  2. Cold soak for three to five days in a sterile covered pan or container in the fridge in two litres of water and a crushed campden tablet to kill any wild yeasts.
  3. On the penultimate day of cold soak, boil the rest of the water to sterilize and leave to get to room temperature. Mash the berries and combine the next day.
  4. Add pectic enzyme and leave for 12 to 24 hours.
  5. Stir in the sugar to 1.09SG, lemon juice then the yeast.
  6. Ferment for two days in primary then press the juice – a good manual squeeze in cleaned hands is perfectly good (A press does wonders though) The juice can simply return to the primary fermenter and then continue to ferment.
  7. Filter into demijohn to remove any rogue seeds or skins that may have stayed and ferment in secondary with an airlock.
  8. Rack after five weeks then two months after that to remove sediment. The wine wants to age at least six months after pitching the yeast.
  9. Stabilise if necessary and back sweeten if desired.
  10. Bottle and wait for at least two years before having a little taste test.

MARROW RUM

Rum Northumbriana
Thats either Jupiter or… Marrow Rum

So before I get a whole load of moaning emails I want to clear a few things up. Firstly, I know this is not Rum. I know what Rum is. Rum is made from fermented sugar cane… and this is made from a marrow. A marrow fermented in a sock. Let’s not get too hung up the nomenclature.

Mind you, any one that insists on calling a marrow a zucchini needs a good hiding, and as I’m from the North East I should be calling it a marra’.

Marrows are the world’s worst vegetable. A bloated courgette that is good for nothing except making rum apparently. The initial idea came from some notes that funny uncle Michael gave to me from his mid-70s wine making that I have somehow inherited. There has been a revolution in kit, ingredients and ideas in amateur wine making so most have some rather out dated methods, they are a pleasure to read and there are one or two great ideas and inspirations there. Making “Northumbrian Rum” seemed like a particularly bad idea so it really appealed and there are various other methods I have seen since.

Rum Northumbriana recipe
“The Inspiration”

The basic idea is to deseed a marrow, pack it with sugar and wine yeast, reseal and then leave to ferment. Light or dark sugar is used in differing recipes and some add raisins either during or after the marrow fermentation. This is a real prison hooch operation so organisation is rather haphazard so I doubt there is a true “marrow rum pot” to make this in an elegant fashion. With the prison hooch stylings there is a totally illegal (both in Britain and Hamburgerland) method of ice distillation that can increase the ABV by freezing the finished rum and letting the more alcoholic mixture melt and be saved with the water being discarded. If they are reading I would just like to tell MI5 and GCHQ that I have not done this.

RUM NORTHUMBRIANA

1 large marrow

1ish kg of demerara sugar

1 orange

Yeast

Nutrient

Rum Northumbriana ingredients
Rum Northumbriana ingredients

Wash you marrow (ooh-er!) chop of the top and scoop out the seeds.

Fill your cavity (ooh-er!) with demerara sugar, give it a tap and then top it up if space is created.

Marrow Rum 1
No turning back…

Juice an orange and pout in the juice. Give it a tap and top up the sugar again.

Pour in your yeast – make a starter as the packet describes or if no instructions dissolve in water and pour over the sugar.

Marrow Rum 2
You have committed to it…

Place the top on the marrow and tape it shut getting a tight seal.

Pierce the skin of the marrow at the base but do not go through the flesh then wrap in cling film.

Marrow Rum 3
Wooo Hooooooo!

Place it in a container –the more air tight the better so it can drip into a demijohn.

Wait for it to ferment, drip out.

After a week to three months depending on the integrity of the devil’s vegetable squeeze the now desiccated marrow skin to get all the juice out and leave to ferment fully.

Marrow Rum 4
Marra marra marra!

You can now bottle and leave for a year to mature or…

Gather the juice and add more sugar and a high strength yeast. Ferment to the highest alcohol tolerance it can go to – possibly 20% ABV.

 

PERFECT GOOSEBERRY WINE RECIPE

Gooseberry wine 2017
Gooseberry wine at seven days old. Just entered secondary fermentation.

My grandparents used to live in the stranger parts of Northumberland with a huge gooseberry bush in the garden that would produce enough gooseberries for crumble for about 19 months of the year which would always be the ending to huge family dinners.

It’s a car park now.

 

I will never be as green fingered as my granddad and personally have no intention of entering any leek shows but I do want to grow some gooseberries for wine and have invested in some bushes. While I gently kill those through neglect I have to rely on shop bought ones. Gooseberries are seasonal and the pink dessert gooseberries emerge later in the season around July. Pink gooseberries are less tart with a lighter floral flavour than the more common green version. Both can be used to make wine and there are good reports of green gooseberry champagne but I am yet to venture into it. You can use 100% green in a recipe, a combination or 100% pink. It really is down to personal preference and availability but most recipes decide to do a 2/3 split towards the pink.

CLICK HERE FOR LAST YEARS GOOSEBERRY pt 1

CLICK HERE FOR LAST YEARS GOOSEBERRY pt 2

Gooseberry wine 2016
Gooseberry wine 2016 vintage – opened to test the recipe for this year.

Last year was bit of a nightmare for my gooseberry wine as it was the first time I ever had a stuck fermentation. The yeast would not start fermenting and in the end I had to adjust the acidity with precipitated chalk and use some hardy champagne yeast to get it going. It did provide an opportunity to have two demijohns with differing yeasts in each. It is a nice light white that has cleared to perfection tasting a little like a rosé and as I was restrained and made it a lighter ABV at around 11% the alcohol does not dominate the taste. Ms Gazette seemed particularly taken by it and as she usually likes the full fruitier wines I make rather than the oddities like gorse or oak leaf.

Pressing the gooseberry at 2 days
Gooseberries pre and post press to extract as much juice as possible.

Personally I was a little less satisfied as while very nice I thought it could do with a few changes to the recipe and methods used to make it. The biggest change is pressing the gooseberries two days into the primary fermentation rather than leaving them until the wine moves to secondary at seven to ten days in age. Last years I think was left too long on the skins so an ever so slight after taste entered the wine, with a slight metallic zinc like hint – not enough to ruin it but certainly there. This has been apparent for both of last years wines so it was not yeast or stuck fermentation related as they both varied. The taste was apparent when ever the wine was racked so it seemed to be introduced early into the fermentation. Pressing the gooseberries early with the resulting juice re-entering primary it seems like this has been a success and will be a regular method from now on. I used a press I have invested in but some muslin and strong hands powered by elbow grease are certainly acceptable to squeeze the flavour out. In addition I have decided to jettison the MA33 and EC1118 yeast used last year and moved to Vintners Harvest CY17. I had the last few elderflowers in my freezer so they have been thrown in too. This is simply an addition and the wine will be more than happy with out them.

Gooseberry cold maceration
Top – gooseberries in water then covered thoroughly. Bottom – gooseberries post cold soak three days later then crushed to break the skins

A process used last year was a cold maceration to extract colour, aroma and some flavour out of the berries before they even entered primary fermentation. This required the fruit to sit covered in sterilized water and kept under 15° C – that is 59° Fademheit in American. A cold soak is not needed but it is an easy addition that really seems to pay dividends.

CLICK HERE FOR A FULL GUIDE TO COLD MACERATION

Gooseberry wine fermenting
Quick check with the lid off – Just after being pressed and still in primary fermentation.

With the cold soak and despite the earlier press the juice is a lovely peachy pink hue that is unlike any other wine I have made. Last year the colour seemed to dull just before it was bottled and I believe that gooseberry wine is photosensitive with sunlight dulling the colour but otherwise leaving it unchanged. There are similar issues with prickly pear that turns from a similar pink to amber and beetroot wine turns brown! Orange wine will also dull so all of them need to be either in a green or brown demijohn or be covered thoroughly and kept in the dark as much as possible.

 

GOOSEBERRY and GOOSEBERRY & ELDERFLOWER WINE – 4.5litres

 

NOTES
Suitable Yeasts – CY17 or EC1118. White or rose wine best as a lighter 11% ABV. Can be back sweetened but does not need it. Unsuitable for oaking. Can be turned into a sparkling wine. 18 months before opening.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg Gooseberries (use pink dessert gooseberries as much as you can)
  • Optional – flowers from 10 sprays of elderflowers
  • 1kg-ish Sugar to 1.08SG
  • 3.5 litres of water
  • Half teaspoon pectic enzyme
  • 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
  • Yeast

 

METHOD

  1. Wash the gooseberries and rub off the top and woodier tail (freezing is optional and a week will break down pectin by a half)
  2. Cold soak for 3 days in two litres of boiled then cooled water in a covered container keeping it below 15°C. FULL GUIDE HERE
  3. After the cold maceration crush thoroughly add the rest of the boiled then cooled water (the elderflowers can be added to the water as it cools if you are using them) sugar, pectic enzyme and leave for 24 hours for it to work.
  4. Pitch yeast and yeast nutrient. Leave to ferment for two days.
  5. Remove gooseberries and press. Add the juice back to primary and discard the skins.
  6. After another four to seven days fermentation will slow (gravity will be at about 1.02) move into secondary fermentation in a clean demijohn with airlock.
  7. Rack at four or five weeks to remove the exhausted yeast, then every two or so months if needed.
  8. Bottle at six months of age and drink at 18 months or later.

ENGLISH VERMOUTH

Gin tonic and vermouthLast year I transformed a few bottles of my strawberry wine into vermouths making three differing tastes that were used in various cocktails and gin & tonics over the summer months. They were all nice but the more floral version was generally the best, though the blackberry gin paired better with the more spiced version. It was all based upon a lot of reading and not a massive amount of understanding. Pairing tastes together and creating balance is very difficult to do writing it as an abstract recipe. Conversely throwing ingredients into a pot and creating it organically is nerve racking as too much cinnamon or wormwood can obliterate all the other ingredients and hard work that has just occurred. Which ever method is used it will be a steep learning curve with ideas that outmatch your ability. Great fun and maybe with time I can get towards my goal of a vermouth that can be drunk not as cocktail addition but aperitif on its own. Maybe 400 years and I’ll have it all cracked.

CLICK HERE FOR THE EARLIER VERMOUTH IDEAS

I may well return to a strawberry vermouth in the future but the idea of an English vermouth really intrigued me as foraging for ingredients has become one of lifes pleasures as I have become more and more adventurous in my wine making. Vermouth is originally French with the Italians adopting it creating two differing styles but Britain has a long tradition of herbal tonics, infused spirits, spiced chutneys and Nandos so there is no reason why this should not come naturally to me through osmosis… google… trial and error… and advice… if any one gives it…

The Art of Drink had a solid looking basic vermouth recipe so became the basis of mine. (thanks Art of Drink – I’m only borrowing it!) I swapped a few ingredients out of necessity and personal preference as I cannot get quinine in Britain and hate camomile finding it overpowering so decided to use just a smudge of some foraged English walnut leaf.

foraged yarrow
Yarrow!

Then I wanted to steer it towards some traditionally English tastes using flowers as this had been the best vermouth I had made. Elderflowers were added as they make a great white wine and can compliment the base wine white used for a vermouth. A few dandelion heads were harvested, though they are becoming rarer with the hottest summer months starting to make them flower less. I had hoped for more to give a gingery hit but had to make do with what I could find. In all honesty I would like three times as many. Dandelion root was also substituted for some of the traditional bittering agents and I did consider hops but thought it might be too vegetal in taste. The last flower to be added was yarrow which is an aromatic weed that happily grows everywhere which I literally stumbled over as I walked home. It grows in small patches as it is rhizomatous (25 points in Scrabble) and has small clumped white or pink flowers with fern like leaves. The leaves are a full on kick to the taste buds but the flowers more mild and taste of a mild aniseed and liquorish and can be found in a fair few vermouth recipes.

I’m not the only person that thought of English vermouth either as there is The Collector Vermouth but I think we can all agree that a professional chef, drink tosser and herb fondler should cower before me the enthusiastic amateur lacking taste buds and modesty. Their vermouth uses an apple spirit as the fortifier rather than the traditional brandy, grappa or in my case white port. Inspired by this I may make a peach or plum spirit as I have them close to hand and easy to forage but this will very much be next years experiment. I did decide to use a smashed peach stone to add a rounded earthy base note though.

There are two versions I made. One with caramelised sugar in a shop bought white wine and another dryer version using my own oak leaf wine which is I hope light enough to take the additions. Caramelising sugar is an easy concept that hides the teeth gnashingly difficult task to do it. Too little heat nothing happens then the slightest hint of too much and it burns to fuck then laughs at you.

Vermouth ingredients

ENGLISH VERMOUTH (NOVO STYLE) – 2 litres

2 x bottles of white wine

400ml of spirit (brandy, grappa, vodka, white port, sherry etc)

200g caramelised sugar

1.5g Wormwood

0.5g Gentian Root (or similar bittering agent)

1g Dandelion root

10g Elderflowers

45 Heads of dandelion petals (I only got 15)

0.25g Camomile flowers or a pinch of walnut leaf

1g Vanilla bean

3 Cardamom pods (shell removed)

4 strips of orange peel (Seville oranges are best)

1g Oregano

0.25g each of rosemary, sage, basil, thyme, coriander seed

10 yarrow flower heads

1 x Cracked peach stone

Caramelising sugarTo caramelise the sugar put it in a good quality heavy pan with 2 tsp of sugar and stir while on a medium heat. As it starts to dissolve stop stirring and start to swirl it around the pan to keep it moving. It will purée more and more to become a syrup and start to boil. Keep it simmering but on the lowest heat you can manage it. After a few minutes it will start to brown. After 10 or so minutes it will be a rich nutty brown. Pour it onto greased proof paper making sure none will pour off as it is so viscous. This syrup has a lot of heat so make sure it cannot damage any counter tops and resist the temptation to stick a finger in it as it is weaponised sugar acting like napalm and can stick to your skin. Leave for an hour to harden.

 

As the caramelised sugar sets grab some miniature scales and measure out all your ingredients. I made groups so that they could be incrementally added to the boil.

  • Group 1 – Florals – elderflower and dandelion
  • Group 2 – Bitters – wormwood, gentian & dandelion root and coriander seed and the peach stone
  • Group 3 – Herbs – camomile/walnut leaf, vanilla bean, cardamom, orange peel, oregano, rosemary, sage, basil, thyme
  • Group 4 – Yarrow (yarrow’s taste is very delicate so this is the last addition when off the boil)
Organised ingredients
Divide your ingredients to know what and when they get added to your spirit.

Pour the spirit into a good heavy pan and add the group 1 floral elements get it to the boil so it can extract as much flavour.

400ml port
There are no rules about what fortifies your vermouth and opinion varies as to what is best.

When the boil starts reduce it to a simmer and start to time it for 10 minutes. Add the Bitters group straight away.

With 5 minutes to go add the herbs

Steeping ingredients for vermouth
Differing ingredients release flavours in different ways, staggering them maximises them with out extracting woodier tastes.

When 10 minutes are up remove from the boil and add the yarrow flowers as it cools.

Leave until cold in a covered pan and then strain through coffee filters (top up with a little spirit if you need to to get it back towards 400ml.

Combine the cleared infused spirits to the wine then crush the caramelised sugar and add a good portion but reserve about 50g.

Taste test and add more sugar if desired.

Vermouth lunch
You deserve a test drive.

Ready to drink right away in a cocktail though a few days wait to muddle is recommended. Can be kept indefinitely but best used with in three months – once open and in use refrigerate and use with in a month if you can.

If any one has any experience hints, tips or recommendations I would love to hear it!!!

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/19/how-to-make-perfect-vermouth

https://www.artofdrink.com/ingredient/how-to-make-vermouth

http://www.thecollectorvermouth.com/