Hippocras is a popular SCA drink. Hippocras, Hypocras,
Ipocras, Ypocras, Mulled Wine, Claree, or a myriad of other spellings and variations were also popular drinks throughout many times and locations that we portray. I’d like to debunk a few myths regarding this drink, and offer a few recipes as well.
“They added spices in to their wine to cover up the taste of wine that is starting to turn bad.”
–This is not true. Until fairly recent times spices were expensive, and wine was cheap. You simply
wouldn’t use expensive ingredients to save a cheap one.
“Hippocras is made with red wine, Claree is made with white wine.”
“Hippocras is made with sugar, Claree is made with honey.”
–I have never read that either of these distinctions were made in pre-1650 Europe. You can find
hippocras recipes that call for white wine. There is a hippocras recipe that specifically calls for honey If being made for the common man, and sugar if being made for lords.
“You should never heat the wine to make hippocras”
“You have to heat the wine to make hippocras”
-Most recipes I’ve seen do not call for heating the wine, but some specifically do. Neither is more
correct, just produces slightly different results.
“Never use ground spices to make hippocras”
-All of the period recipes use ground spices. When I teach someone to make hippocras, I say do not heat the wine and do not use ground spices. But that is because it produces the best result with the least amount of work.
From Le Menagier de Paris (1393) translated by Janet Hinson from the French edition of Jerome Pichon published in 1846.
- One bottle (750ml) red wine (13-14% ABV)
- 1oz Cinnamon sticks
- 1 finger (approx. 1 oz) ginger
- 25 black peppercorns
- ¾ cup C&H pure cane sugar
-The common cinnamon sticks that are 3-4 inches long are actually Cannel, this is what I use. Place the sticks in a plastic Ziploc bag and hit them one time in the center of each stick to break it apart.
-The peppercorns are placed in a plastic Ziploc bag and cracked open by gently hitting them with a
-The ginger is peeled and then chopped into
match sticks approximately 1/8 X 1/8 X 1 inch.
-All ingredients are added to a mason jar and then shook to combine. Leave the jar in a cool dry place for 4-7 days and then strain and bottle or drink. If left in the wine for too long, the cinnamon flavor will change from cinnamon to an unpleasant woody