The American Pictorial Home Book
or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia - online book

A reference manual of household management in Victorian times.

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Excellent California Raisin Wine.—Put 8 gallons of fresh California raisins to every gal. of water in a large tub. Stir thor­oughly every day for a month, then press the raisins in a flannel bag, as dry as possible; put the liquor into a cask; when it is done hissing pour in a bottle of the best brandy: stop it close for 12 months,then pour it off leaving the dregs, filter through paper pulp in a flannel bag, add the clear to the quantity, and pour 1 or 2 quarts of brandy, according to the size of the vessel or cask. Raisin wine would be extremely good, if made with enough rich fruit and kept long. Age improves its flavor greatly.
Raisin Wine.—Take 300 lbs. of California raisins,not picked, put them into a hogshead of clear soft water, with 1 pound of hops, let the whole stand for 15 days, stirring twice a day. Then press it into a tub; then spread yeast over a piece of toasted bread, and let it ferment 24 hours, afterwards put the liquor into a cask, where it may work fourteen days longer; fill it up again as it works over, and when it has ceased, let it be well bunged. You may afterwards put 18 gals, of water upon the raisins for small wine, in a week press it out, in a month bottle off.
Raisin Wine with Cider.—Put 200 lbs. of California raisins into a cask and pour upon them a hogshead of good apple or pear cider that is not rough; stir it well two or three days, stop it and let it stand for 6 months, then rack into a cask that it will fill, and pour in a gallon of the best brandy. If the raisin wine is used much, it would be best to keep a cask always for it and bottle off one year's wine just in time for the next, which, allowing the 6 month's infusion would make the wine 18 months old. In cider portions of country this is very economical and if not thought strong enough, the ad­dition of another quarter of a hundred pounds of raisins would be sufficient, and the wine would still be very cheap. When the raisins are pressed through a horse hair bag, they will either produce a good spirit by distillation and must be sent to a distiller, who will do it, but (for that purpose) they must be very little pressed, or they make an excellent vinegar. The stalk should be picked out, and may be thrown into any cask of vinegar that is making, being very acid.
A Rich and Pleasant Wine.—Take new cider from the press, mix it with as much honey as will support an egg, boil gently for 15 minutes in an enamelled vessel or kettle and no other. Skim it well, when cool let it be put into a cask, but don't quite fill it. In six months bottle it. In 6 weeks it will be fit to drink; it will be less sweet if kept longer in the cask. You will have a rich and strong wine and it will keep well. This will serve for culinary purposes. Honey is valuable to assist in rendering new crabbed austere cider rich palatable. The qualities of wines are greatly increased by age.