Author: Justin
Serves 2-6, depending on how thirsty they are
1 bottle plain red wine 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbl honey 2-3 cinnamon sticks
a bit of ginger, cut up a small knob of galingale (optional)
1-2 whole nutmegs 5-6 cardamom pods
several whole cloves

Put all of the spices into a small strainer, with a long handle.  Heat the wine gently in a small enamel saucepan, until it begins to steam a little; do not let it boil.  Add the sugar and honey, and stir until they are well-dissolved.  Place the strainer into the wine; reduce heat and cook gently for several minutes.  Remove strainer and set aside; immediately pour wine into mugs and enjoy.
The same spices can be reused several times on successive evenings before getting worn out.

Notes and Variations

A particular wintertime favorite of Justin's.  This is a variant of proper period hypocras, with a few tweaks.  The period recipe would usually have been made with ground spices, wrapped in a fine cloth; whole spices are a bit more wasteful, but rather more convenient in my opinion.  The period version would also have been served either warm or cool, and this version is reasonably tasty at room temperature, but I find it most appealing quite warm on a cool night -- it's the very best relaxing winter drink once you are in for the evening.  If it cools, it reheats in the microwave perfectly fine.  Be warned, though -- it is very easy to gulp this down, and since it's almost pure wine, it will carry a strong wallop.
The recipe is quite loose and flexible, and can be tweaked in many ways.  Most of the ingredients are optional; galingale is called out as specifically optional because it is relatively hard to find.  (Galingale is a relative of ginger, so not highly necessary.)  Do not, under any conditions, use expensive wine in this recipe -- it's simply a waste.  I find that cheap burgundy (although it must be potable) results in the best flavor mix.


Heavily adapted from Pleyn Delit, by Heiatt and Butler, recipe 127; that is in turn adapted from Forme of Cury, a particularly good 14th century cookbook.