I was delighted when my friend P stopped by yesterday with a few older books she thought I might like. She was certainly right in that regard, especially considering that one of the books was an older guide on making homemade wines and liqueurs. In fact, the title of the book is indeed: "Home-made Wines and Liqueurs" and was written by a fellow named Ambrose Heath.
I've never heard of the author before but it seems that he was a well known British food writer in the first half of the 20th century. He published a number of books and articles under such titles as "Good Food on the Aga", "The Good Cook in Wartime" and "Dishes Without Meat", which must have been quite avant garde when it was first published in 1940.
The book I've been given is quite small and under a hundred pages in length and can easily be thumbed through and read in half an hour or so. And what I really like about it is the simplicity and uniqueness of the instruction. In fact, he distills the entire wine-making process down into eight pages at the beginning then goes on to list individual recipes for various country wines and liqueurs throughout the remaining pages. The recipes in themselves are often a paragraph or two in length and not only introduce unusual ideas such as Sage and Wheat wines but sometimes even bizarre steps such as putting a slice of toast spread with yeast (Marmite?) into the must for Gorse wine.
Things have been quiet in my kitchen on the wine making front over the last few months since the cold isn't really conducive to the process. With our warmer and lighter days creeping back I've decided to start my first batch of wine in the next couple of weeks - so this book really has arrived at an opportune time. Its unique recipes have inspired me to try a few different varieties this year and I thought I'd share some of the recipes with you as well ~ Enjoy.