Sack with Clove-gilly flowers

If you will make a Cordial Liquor of Sack with Clove-gillyflowers, you must do thus. Prepare your Gillyflowers, as is said before, and put them into great double glass-bottles, that hold two gallons a piece, or more; and put to every gallon of Sack, a good half pound of the wiped and cut flowers, putting in the flowers first, and then the Sack upon them. Stop the glasses exceeding close, and set them in a temperate Cellar. Let them stand so, till you see that the Sack hath drawn out all the principal tincture from them, and that the flowers begin to look palish; (with an eye of pale, or faint in Colour) Then pour the Sack from them, and throw away the exhausted flowers, or distil a spirit from them; For if you let them remain longer in the Sack, they will give an earthy tast to them. You may then put the tincted Sack into fit bottles for your use, stopping them very close. But if the season of the flowers be not yet past, your Sack will be better, if you put it upon new flowers, which I conceive will not be the worse, but peradventure the better, if they be a little dried in the shade. If you drink a Glass or two of this sack at a meal, you will find it a great Cordial.

Upon better consideration; I conceive the best way of making Hydromel with Clove-gillyflowers, is thus: Boil your simple Liquor to it's full height (with three parts of water to one of Honey,) take a small parcel out, to make a strong infusion of flowers, pouring it boyling hot upon the flowers in earthen vessels. If you will easily draw out the tincture in fourteen or sixteen hours infusion; otherwise you may quicken your liquor with a parcel of Sack. In the mean time make the great quantity of Liquor work with yest. When it hath almost done fermenting, but not quite, put the infusion to it warm, and let it ferment more if it will. When that is almost done, put to it a bag with flowers to hang in the bung.

I conceive that Hydromel made with Juniper-berries (first broken and bruised) boiled in it, is very good. Adde also to it Rosemary and Bayleaves.

Upon tryal of several ways, I conclude (as things yet appear to me) that to keep Meath long, it must not be fermented with yest (unless you put Hops to it) but put it in the barrel, and let it ferment of it self, keeping a thick plate of lead upon the bung, to lie close upon it, yet so that the working of the Liquor may raise it, to purge out the foulness, and have always some new made plain Liquor, to fill it up as it sinks, warm whiles it works: but cold during three or four month's after. Then stop the bung exceeding close. And when you will make your Mead with Cherries or Morello-Cherries, or Raspes, or Bilberries, or Black cherries, put their juyce to the Liquor when you tun it, without ever boiling it therein; about one quart of juyce to every three or four gallons of Liquor. You may squeese out the clear juyce, and mingle it with the Liquor, and hang the Magma in a bag in the bung. I think it is best to break the stones of the Cherries, before you put their Magma into the bag.

Since I conceive, that Clove-gilly-flowers must never be boiled in the Liquor: that evaporateth their Spirits, which are very volatile: But make a strong infusion of them, and besides hang a bag of them in the bung. In conceive that it is good to make the Liquor pretty strong (not too much, but so as the taste may be gratefull) of some strong herbs, as Rosemary, Bay-leaves, Sweet-marjoram, Thyme, Broad-thyme, and the like. For they preserve the drink, and make it better for the stomach and head. Sanding in the Sun is the best way of Fermentation, when the drink is strong. The Root of Angelica or Elecampane, or Eringo, or Orris, may be good and pleasant, to be boiled in the Liquor. Raspes and Cherries and Bilberies are never to be boiled, but their juyce put into the Liquor, when it is tunning. Use onely Morello-Cherries (I think) for pleasure, and blackones for health. I conceive it best to use very little spice of any kind in Meathes.

Transcribed by Joyce Miller <>