Winter is the season of medicinal liqueur.
Alcohol speeds up the actions of any herb it is mixed with.
Delivered with herbs, the alcohol delivers a fast-acting pick me up.
You will need to create your medicinal liqueurs up to a month in advance to allow time for the herbs to soak in the alcohol sufficiently.
Typically, high percentage (above 40%) alcohol is required to extract the medicinal ingredients so rice-wine or vodka is a good choice alcohol to use as a base because it is neutral.
Or, the short cut to making herbal home-made wine is to start with finished good quality beverages.
The higher the sugar and alcohol content in the wine the better because these factors make the phytochemicals in the herbs more bioavailable, in your body.
Red or white organic table wines with 9 to 12 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) are good choices, as are organic port wine, brandy, cognac or sake.
Start with half-ounce dried herb to each pint of wine.
Place the herbal material in a non-metallic container with a tight-fitting lid, then pour the wine over the herbs.
Cap and store in a cool, dark place away from direct heat and drafts.
Give the container a shake every day for about two weeks.
Strain the herbs and store the reserved herbal wine in a clean container. Your herbal wine should last up to 12 months.
If you notice one day that it tastes or smells like vinegar, it is a sign that time has come to make a new batch and a kitchen will find many uses for wine vinegar.
Not sure what to spike your wine with? Here are a few suggestions:
Flowers: Rose, lavender, chamomile, dandelion, elderflowers, linden, hibiscus
Herbs and Spices: Ginger root, lemon balm, cardamom pods, allspice, anise star, cinnamon sticks, cumin, mint, gentian, liquorice root, burdock, geranium
Fruit Peels: Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit
Berries: Wheat berry, elderberry, blueberry, juniper
The legendary Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) physician and herbalist, Li Shi-zhen wrote:
Wine, a beauty bestowed by heaven – drinking a small amount harmonizes the blood and moves the qi, strengthens the spirit and wards off cold, disperses worry and dispels moodiness.
Love and bacteria, Xxoo Lynnie