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The made-wine from the sap of silver birch trees, collected by drilling into the trunk and allowing the liquid to trickle out over several days. Mixed with water and sugar or honey, fermented, cleared and aged. The resulting wine is pale straw coloured, light and dry.
Birch wine appears in many cookery books from the 16th Century onwards, and was noted by Queen Victoria as one of Prince Albert's favourite drinks. The botanist John Lindley (1853) recommended it not only as a drink but, "Birch Wine has a popular reputation as a remedy for stone and gravel".
It is widely manufactured by amateurs, and there is at least one commercial producer.
Original Receipt in 'English Housewifry' by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764 (Moxon 1764)
305. To make BIRCH WINE.
Take your birch water and boil it, clear it with whites of eggs; to every gallon of water take two pounds and a half of fine sugar, boil it three quarters of an hour, and when it is almost cold, put in a little yeast, work it two or three days, then put it into the barrel, and to every five gallons put in a quart of brandy, and half a pound of ston'd raisins; before you put up your wine burn a brimstone match in the barrel.
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