Monday, 29 April 2013

Y is for Ypocras ...



This interesting medieval spiced wine is mentioned by an old steward of a castle who laments that lords and ladies do not drink and dine in Hall as their fathers did, but have hot wines and small meals carried up to their bedrooms!
 
Ypocras sleeve

Ypocras a drink made from wine mixed with sugar and spices, warmed ... then strained off through the Hippocratic sleeve (originally devised by the 5th century BC Greek physician Hippocrates to filter water).


Only 4 sleeves
to sieve the
spiced wine



Spiced wine was popular in the Roman Empire as seen in the writings of Pliny the Elder and Apicius, and came to Europe from the Orient following the Crusades (1095 - 1291) – the drink becoming extremely popular and was regarded as having various medicinal or even aphrodisiac properties.


During the 13th century, the city of Montpellier had a reputation for trading spiced wines with England – we needed some spicing up, obviously! 
Ypocras - bottles for sale.
Aux Delices Franco Begles: 
Vin Apperitif from Distilleriedes
Terres Rouge Turenne



Since about 1390 the recipes for piment (a variant of the early spiced wine) have been called ipocras or Ypocras.


Hattonchatel - c/o FX Cuisine







Ypocras is still produced in the Ariege and Haute Loire areas of France, though in very small quantities.  It may be used for either drinking, when it is served chilled before meals, or as an ingredient in sauces ...


... it is enjoying a rejuvenation being served in numerous medieval feasts all over Europe ... while providing a basis for other more modern day drinks, such as Sangria.


An English text specifies that sugar was uniquely for the lords and honey was for the people ... how times have changed!


This is how they make Ypocras today at Hattonchatel Castle, France – FXCuisine ... the 14th century recipe says “Passee your wyne throu a Socke nine tymes untilled clear” ... 2 pages of detailed instructions, with photos, are given!



That is Y for Ypocras from Aspects of British Cookery

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

38 comments:

Suzanne Furness said...

Sounds interesting, I think the only spiced wine I've had is a glass of mulled wine at Christmas! Partial to the odd glass of Sangria too :)

Old Kitty said...

I want a bottle of this sent to my room now please, pronto, thank you! LOL!! Wow - I've not heard of this but it sounds amazing - I love sweet spiced wine!! Hope clean socks were used! LOL! Take care
x

Empty Nest Insider said...

I remember that I used to like Sangria, so I probably would have also liked Ypocras. The sweeter the better.

Julie

Val Poore said...

How interesting! I like the point about sugar being for the wealthy and honey for the poorer people. It's a bit like that with bread now isn't it? White bread is cheaper than brown or wholemeal bread. In early days, the white bread would have been the refined food that only the gentry could afford. I think I might like Ypocras! Especially as a basis for something else.

MorningAJ said...

If I passed wine through socks in my house it might gain more than spice!

I'd never heard of this. Thanks for the information.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Sounds like a fun accompaniment to a medieval festival, for sure! Thanks for filling us in. :)

J.L. Murphey said...

Yporcras is delicious on cold winter nights. As far as medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities it is probably due to the alcohol content.

Manzanita said...

My computer wouldn't let me go to Hattonchatel Castle to see how they make ypocras wine. I wanted to see if they passed it through a sock. Sock it to me, baby!!!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I have never tasted this particular wine but I love spiced wines so this is intriguing. Have a good week, Diane

TALON said...

I'd heard of spiced wine, but never the real name of it, Hilary. Cool!

Sue McPeak said...

And here I thought today's Filtration Systems were a new invention. I wonder if the socks had a few bits of charcoal in the toes. It is particulary interesting how somethings once royal fall from grace...sugar and honey!!!

My Letter'Y'...Confessions of A YarnAholic
Sue CollectInTexasGal
AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

Jo said...

I remember hearing this name before but not what it was. I couldn't get the link to work either. Having drunk Sangria in Spain it doesn't sound the same thing to me at all.

JO ON FOOD, MY TRAVELS AND A SCENT OF CHOCOLATE

Rosalind Adam said...

I've mentioned before about not being able to drink wine but I must say, I don't even like the smell of spiced or mulled wine. There must be something wrong with me! Most people go into raptures about it.

Teresa Coltrin said...

A spiced wine? Sounds wonderful. The inventions people have come up with to strain recipes (and other things) is quite interesting.

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I loved the part about passing the wine through a sock. Now that's the kind of recipe I can relate to!

Interesting to find out how this and Sangria are connected.

walk2write said...

The spices (if not the wine) probably kept the lords and ladies healthy as well as wealthy. Great antioxidants--in moderation, of course! I'm really enjoying your A to Z posts, Ms. Hilary, reading them backwards, one or two of them at a time.

A Lady's Life said...

Well this is interesting . I never heard of Ypocras. Good to know.:)

Clarissa Draper said...

That sounds like a wonderful wine. I don't drink wine but I would imagine I would try a spiced wine because it sounds to me like a type of cider.

Lisa said...

Wow. My husband would love this. He and I both love to try wines like this. Your link to the chateau in the paragraph doesn't work but the one under the photo does! That was fun to read and I love the man's smile as he's making the Ypocras! I think I'd smile too if I were him!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Since wine is already sweet, I imagine this variety is a sugar rush.

Hart Johnson said...

I love spiced wine, so I bet I'd really love a good authentic Ypocras. Interesting that the history is so old. I suppose it makes sense--especially in cold weather.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

PS – corrected the link – apologies for not checking!

@ Suzanne – I’d quite like to try some of the real stuff, I must say.

@ Old Kitty – sorry I failed didn’t I! I didn’t realise my description was that enticing – yes well the socks must be pretty spiced up by now!

@ Julie – I expect this is somewhat stronger – but I imagine would taste delicious.

@ Val – it’s funny how many customs have changed over times .. oysters for the poor – now they’re only affordable by the rich! As here .. now it’s honey for the rich and sugar for the poor – if the bees aren’t around to produce honey for us. As you describe bread ... funny old life. But you’re in the right place to try it – from the French/Belgian organisation that produces the bottle shown in the photo.

@ Anne – I suspect in many houses that might be the way – smelly socks and all that! Glad you enjoyed the details of Ypocras ...

@ Elizabeth – Medieval Festivals literally go the whole hog ... I went to one decades ago and it was amazing ...

@ JL – well delighted someone has tried Ypocras – good news. After a while I guess the medicinal and alcoholic qualities would really kick in.

@ Manzanita – the links are working now ... I can’t remember about the sock .. but the castle owner’s cousin makes it and shows how in full detail. Sock it to you baby – ok!!

@ Diane – you’re also in a good position to try some ... perhaps you and Nigel will give a bottle a go sometime?

@ Talon – I hadn’t heard of the wine either – the Ypocartic sleeve yes, but the drink I was delighted to find for my Y.

@ Sue – oh crumbs no ... it’s odd how we forget the ancient things .. they’re using reed beds to filter water now – cheap and exactly as it was done naturally millennia ago. Then the sugar and honey – I’m sure it’ll be the other way round soon .. honey for the rich, and sugar for the poor – if the bees keep being wiped out.

@ Jo – links sorted ... Sangria isn’t the same .. it’s a drink that evolved from the Yprocas style of aperitif ...

@ Ros – count yourself lucky probably = not drinking! Do you like sweet spicy smells of cakes, biscuits or buns cooking? I’d be very happy having the aroma of spiced mulled wine wafting around my home!

@ Teresa – It’s an aperitif, so may be not so sweet ... but I’d better try sometimes. The human is inventive, if nothing else! It’s a fun description isn’t it ...

@ Lee – yes it’s a fun idea ... you on that ladder again – husband with sock .. you with teapot and the bowl thereunder – a good tv take?!

I expect the Sangria was just a diluted version of the spicy wine with extra spices and fruits in it ... which is then diluted – doesn’t sound as though Ypocras is ever diluted!

@ W2W – good to see you .. I expect you’re right about the lords and ladies’ health coming from their alcohol and spice intake – as you say great antioxidants.

Thanks so much .. it’s lovely to know you’re enjoying the postings – appreciate this.

@ A Lady’s Life – well we keep living and we keep learning don’t we!!

@ Clarissa ... it really is warmed wine with spices in .. cider is fizzy, apply or perry (pear) ... and usually served chilled ... mead would be a better example probably ... which has honey in it ...

@ Lisa – I wonder if you can find any Ypocras in the States ... I’ve fixed the link .. thanks to everyone for letting me know.

Am so pleased you tried the other links and then actually read through the post and looked at the pictures ... he has a huge smile doesn’t he! Great photos too ... If I lived there I’d be smiling as well ...

@ Alex – it’s probably better adjusted now-a-days ... so just adding the extra flavourings would make it of the sweet palate type, rather than ‘ordinary’ red or white style ..

@ Hart – Everyone’s making me wish I had some to taste or try .. History of so many things comes down over time with some alterations, amendments – being bent to new developments ... but we do love our mulled wine in winter!

Cheers everyone thanks so much for your comments .. Hilary

Sherry Ellis said...

I like the word, "Ypocras." I would have never guessed it was a spiced wine, though1

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I'm with Sherry - the word itself is magical (thought I doubt I am pronouncing it correctly!)

Once again, a lovely lesson within a fabulous story plump with ripe images.

THANK YOU!

Julie Jordan Scott
Y is for YOU!
Literary Grannies from A to Z

Patricia said...

We have lots of spiced wine - usually warm in the winter. My mother brought her Wassail recipe from England but refused to use wine. As the cranberry capital growers of the USA, cranberry juice and then orange juice was combined with spices to make the drink that my mum would approve.
Sangria is wonderful, I can see why spiced wine drinks were thought to be medicinal - an actual vitamin pill when food was scarce and hard to preserve.

Good words found here - Oh the home stretch with this venture at Y
Thanks

Jen Forbes said...

It sounds interesting to me especially because of the spices. I'd love to taste it some day. Glad to learn about it. Thanks!

Lynn said...

And I thought I knew my wine... :)

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

If only I drank wine, I'd be tempted. Then again, do I really want wine passed through socks...

Nice one, Hilary. Thank goodness this alphabet challenge only has one more letter....

Gary

Silvia Villalobos said...

How times have changed indeed ... most of us (lords or not :)) try to stay away from sugar nowadays in favor of honey.

Love the post, Hilary.


Silvia @ Silvia Writes

Sean McLachlan said...

During the cold winters in Oxford we tend to switch from beer to spiced wine at the pubs!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sherry - I was so pleased when I found Ypocras and didn't need to do Yorkshire Pudding - though I love it! It's a fun word isn't it ..

@ Julie - it is just one of those words isn't it .. I pronounce it ipocras - rightly or wrongly I've no idea!

So pleased you've enjoyed the postings .. I'm going enjoy reading your literary grannies properly very soon. Thank you for those ..

@ Patricia - mulled wine does have a flavour all of its own .. while cranberries and orange have flavoured many a new drink .. good for the soul ...

@ Jen - I hope we all get a chance to taste it ... I think I'll be on the look out for a bottle to try!

@ Lynn - this is an ancient one! Glad you enjoy your vino though ..

@ Gary - the sock scenario was a fun one to write about and read ... I enjoy the writing .. I'll be catch up with everyone's blogs from now on!

@ Silvia - times do change don't they .. the sugar and honey scenario highlights that change ..

Thanks everyone so much .. lovely seeing you all .. cheers Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sean - I think many pubs offer spiced wine at Christmas ... perhaps this past year they extended the run by a few months!

I hadn't realised you have a connection with Oxford ...

Cheers Hilary

Tina said...

Can I have room service? Forget waiting till the kids leave for school. If you're doing two wine posts in a row, I need a drink!
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

Bish Denham said...

Is mulled wine the same thing as ypocras?

Sara said...

While I enjoyed learning about Ypocras and its history. I was most interested in the Hippocratic sleeve. That's so cool to create a way to filter water:~)

Nicely done and only one more to go. You should be very proud of yourself for this excellent culinary A-Z:~)

Rhonda said...

I never heard of this wine, but I am sure i would enjoy it. Too bad I missed it when we were in France last year.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes.com

Chuck said...

I think I could use a good glass of wine about now!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Tina .. you may have room service! Then it became three wine celebratory posts in a row!! Lovely comment ..

@ Bish - a variant of sorts .. Ypocras would be more refined now. Mulled wine contains sugar that was rare in the early days of Ypocras ..

@ Sara - the history of how things developed is fascinating isn't it .. and the Hippocratic oath came from that era too .. Thanks - I've enjoyed the culinary flavour and take on the A-Z theme ..

@ Rhonda - it's fairly 'select' - next time you're in France, you can give it a try?!

@ Chuck - another coffee for me .. but a glass later on will be a good idea .. I'll raise my glass to you and all bloggers ..

Cheers Hilary