Receipt for making Honey Wine.
I put a quantity of the comb from which the honey had been drained, into a tub, to which I add a barrel of cider, immediately from the press; this mixture was well stirred, and left to soak for one night. It was then strained before a fermentation took place, and honey was added until the weight of the liquor was sufficient to bear an egg. It was then put into a barrel, and after the fermentation commenced, the cask was filled every day for three or four days,[Pg 154] with water, that the filth might work out of the bung hole. When the fermentation moderated, I put the bung in loosely, lest stopping it tight, might cause the cask to burst.—At the end of five or six weeks the liquor was drawn off into a tub, and the white of eight eggs well beaten up, with a pint of clean sand, were put into it—I then added a gallon of cider spirit, and after mixing the whole well together, I returned it into the cask, which was well cleaned, bunged it tight and placed it in a proper situation for racking it off when fine. In the month of April following, I drew it off for use, and found it equal in my opinion, to almost any foreign wine—in the opinion of many good judges it was superior.
This success has induced me to repeat the experiments for three years, and I am persuaded that by using the clean honey, instead of the comb, as above described; such an improvement might be made as would enable the citizens of the United States, to supply themselves with a truly federal and wholesome wine, which would not cost more than twenty cents per gallon, were all the ingredients procured at the market prices, and would have the peculiar advantage over all other wines, hitherto attempted in this country, that it contains[Pg 155] no foreign mixture whatever, but is made from ingredients produced on our own farms.
[Columbian Magazine, November 1790.
Doubtless the foregoing wine will be found strong, and if not well clarified, or rather fined, may be heavy—and therefore will be found excellent when diluted freely with water, and when about to be drank, two thirds of water will be found necessary, and an improvement.
Bottling the foregoing wine in April, will certainly render it more excellent, and I fancy it ought to be drank mixed with water, during warm weather, and between meals, as in its pure state it may be found heavy. The gentleman who made the foregoing experiments, drew it off in kegs—this we presume was done to prevent its souring—as cider will suffer, and become hard after broaching the cask, whereas whilst full it remained sound. All American vinous liquors are liable to sour, because we rarely understand or practice the proper mode of manufacturing.
Complete cleansing and fermentation is absolutely necessary—and when fermented, it must be well fined, and then drawn off in nice casks, or bottled—bottling is certain[Pg 156]ly the most effectual, and if a farmer procures as many as three dozen of black bottles, they with three kegs of seven and an half gallons each, will hold the barrel.—The kegs well bunged, will preserve the wine sound, and when a keg is broached, it must be immediately drawn off and bottled. The bottles when emptied, ought to be rinsed and stood up in an airy closet to drain.
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