Roman Aromatic Wine (2000 years old recipe)
Did you ever ask yourself how Romans cooked wine? Of course they cooked it, what else we expected from people eating flamingo’s tongues for a dinner? Here we have a beautiful find, the 2000 years old recipe for cooking the delicious aromatic wine:
1) Put 3-4 (three-four) volume parts of honey and 1 (one) part of red wine into the bowl. From my grog experience, I’d recommend use the Argentinian Malbec or Sirah, depending on preferences, Spanish Ribeira del Duero may fit as well, I personally would not use French product for particularly this purpose, and of course this all is a matter of personal preferences.
In case you want weight measurement instead of volume measurement, count that the density of honey is about 1,5 and that means 1 litre of honey weights 1,4 – 1,5 kilos. Say you want to use a bottle of wine for the experiment: put less than one half of wine, say 300 ml if a standard bottle, then you’ll need roughly 600 ml of honey, which is 1 kilo. Don’t be shy with experiments, try on your own, the recipe is few thousand years old!
2) Heat the mix constantly stirring on a slow fire until roughly one half of the liquid shall evaporate. Keep an eye it should not boil too hard.
3) Remove it from fire and add few splashes of wine to reduce temperature and make the whole thing more liquid, then put on fire again. Keep stirring and keep it on until boiling point, where you remove it away from fire, add wine again… Repeat three times.
4) On the next day remove foam from top of the mixture.
5) Add black pepper (in powder) approximately 50 g per 1 litre of wine. Yes, it’s a whole lot of black pepper, but the resulting drink shall be way way sweet and that is how we balance the pepper.
6) Add saffron, then same amount of tuberose leaf. I personally experimented with nutmeg which we’ve already used a lot when cooking that Wine Grog
7) Add mastic of the mastic tree…. Yes, I understand what I’ve just said =) the Greek and Romans used it a lot when cooking. If you are lucky to find one, otherwise skip this step.
8) We shall need date pits (fig pits), approximately 10 of them. First five you shall fry on a pan and then throw into the bowl, and 5 of them you keep in wine for awhile (put them into wine one day before, along with doing the first mixture, described above in clause 1-3) then throw into the bowl too.
9) Add wine (fresh one from the bottle) same amount as much you have the mixture, so you double the volume. Let it rest for an hour and it’s done.
That’s it Folks. Enjoy the drink.
* My personal taste is that I love HOT wine drinks. And for this one, I heat it a little on that “second day”. If no heat you want taking the drink cold, then give it to rest an hour or two after you add all and stir.
* The original chef suggest to throw carbon into the ready thing, as they used such a lot to remove the possible foreign tastes also for health and safety. Can be replaced by activated carbon nowadays, yet there’s no any real reason to do so, yet from the other hand – why not to try once, carbon is the safest substance on earth.
* If you use a real fire in a fireplace, made out of real wood, the wine, your mixture shall absorb the wooden smell. Not too mandatory, but just to play gourmet I shall certainly try it once with a real wood (most probably eucalyptus) and a real fire.
Head image is a courtesy of Polina Kovaleva