-John Russell, The Boke of Nurture, 1440
Have three pewter basins for the liquid and three straining bags, one for each, hanging inside of them from a perch. Pare ginger or beat it into a powder and be sure to use the columbine variety. Your cinnamon sticks should be thin, brittle and fair in colour. Use grains of paradise, sugar, red wine, long pepper and turnsole for colouring. Put each spice into a separate bladder and hang these bags from the perch so that they don’t touch each other. Place two or three gallons of wine into each of the basins. Allow the wine to absorb the flavours from the pouches. Then strain the liquid through the long cloth bag called a Hippocrate’s Sleeve. Taste it. If there is too much ginger, add cinnamon, and vice versa.
2 bottles burgundy wine
1/3 cup sugar
8 sticks cinnamon, broken into pieces
6 thin slices fresh ginger
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
5 cardamom pods, coarsely crushed
¼ teaspoon grains of paradise, finely ground**
Optional: fresh orange or lemon peel
1. Combine the above ingredients in a large pan or pot. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Adjust seasoning to taste. Add citrus peel if desired.
3. Strain liquid to remove the whole spices and serve.
*Galingale is an Asian root akin to a combination of ginger and cardamom. It is available in Asian markets.
**Grains of Paradise are an African pod with a peppery flavor and a hint of cardamom.
NOTE: You can substitute 1/8 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon of ginger and another finely crushed cardamom pod for the galingale and ¼ teaspoon of grains of paradise.