# Drinks

Historical cuisine preserved at the Château de Louvignies  - Château de Louvignies ©

Historical cuisine preserved at the Château de Louvignies - Château de Louvignies ©

Ingredients

  • 1 hectolitre of water (100 L)
  • 1 kg of licorice root
  • 500 g of cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate used as a leavening agent)
  • 5 litres of eau-de-vie at 19º
  • 40 g of flowers of some kind, such as elder flowers or sweet clover, etc.

Ingredients (alternative)

  • 1 hectolitre of water (100 L)
  • 6.25 kg of raw sugar
  • 2.5 L of strong vinegar (2500 mL)
  • 5 litres of eau-de-vie at 19º
  • 40 g of freely chosen herbs

Ingredients (third alternative)

  • 1 hectolitre of water (100 L)
  • 6.25 kg of raw sugar
  • 160 g of tartaric acid (potassium bitartrate used as a leavening agent)
  • 1 litre of three-six spirits (a type of eau-de-vie)
  • 230 g of elder flowers

Preparation

In my opinion, this last recipe is the one that provides the most pleasant beverage, comparable with a light perry (fermented beverage made from pears); after a few days in the bottle, it foams and sparkles along the lines of champagne.

Always begin with a strong decoction of the herbs, that you must leave to steep for a few minutes; dissolve the sugar or the cream of tartar in water; strain all of your liqueurs through a horsehair sieve or piece of cloth, and pour into a properly cleaned cask of sufficient size, along with the water, the eau-de-vie and the vinegar. Stir thoroughly and then allow to rest. The fermentation occurs more or less actively, depending on the temperature of the location where the barrel is placed; the ideal temperature is between 10 and 15°C. The fermentation can also be activated and made more regular by adding 50 to 60 g of beer yeast, mixed with a bit of water. When the fermentation is right on the point of thickening up, the cask is hermetically sealed with a wooden bung, and after resting for three or four days, the beverage can be served.

Bottling comes next, providing a much appreciated sparkling liqueur after 10 or 12 days.

Tante Colinette, Le coin de la ménagère, 1917

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