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Medieval Hypocras at Hattonchâtel

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Hypocras was the most popular drink at parties and banquets in the Middle Ages. See how we made a gallon of it in Hattonchatel castle in France using the original spices they used back then. 

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Meet Dan Agerskov, the cousin of the owner of Hattonchâtel castle in Lorraine, who lived in the castle for a year. Dan and his wife prepared some authentic medieval dishes under my direction. Today we made hypocras.

Hypocras
1 bottle of tannin-rich red wine (75cl / 3 cups)
125gr (3 oz) sugar
2 grains black Pepper
1 sticks cinammon
2 pod green cardamom
1 cloves
1 cloves long pepper (piper longum)
0.5 teaspoon ground galangal
0.5 teaspoon ground dried ginger
1 teaspoon Guinea grains (aframomum melegueta)
1 clean cotton towel or T-shirt

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You need strong-bodied, woody, tannin-rich red wine from a place where there is a lot of sun. The night before we tried with some local red wine from a fearless local producer who is the only one to try and make red wine in Lorraine. It just doesn't work, the wine was tart and when we added the sugar all that remained was a watery, sickly sweet shadow of a soft drink. We had to throw everything away and we bought some Californinan Shiraz instead.

Pour the wine into a jar or decanter or salad bowl or another container you can put a tight lid on and place in the fridge later.

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Add the sugar

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Grind the spices in a mortar. You can also use a bit more spices and leave them whole to avoid any small spice particles remaining in the wine.

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Pour into the pot...

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... and smell.

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Mix with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved. Cover and leave in a cool place until the next day. If you are really in a hurry, just use more spice and leave for at least 2 hours.

Next page see the filtration, tasting and serving.

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