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Gooseberry Wine


A 'Made-Wine' from gooseberries. (Moxon 1764, Eaton 1822, Mrs.B, etc) Known at least since Bradley 1728, "one of the richest and strongest Wines made in England; and is not, in my opinion, inferior to Mountain Malaga."

See also: Gooseberry Champagne


Original Receipt in 'The Country Housewife and Lady's Director' by Prof. R Bradley, 1728 (Bradley 1728)

Preliminaries to the making of Goosberry-Wine.
Goosberry-Wine is one of the richest and strongest Wines made in England , it will keep many Years, and improve by keeping, if it be well made; and is not, in my opinion, inferior to Mountain Malaga .

To make this Wine, we must have regard to the sort of Goosberry we design to use, for there is a great deal of difference in the time of one sort's ripening and another: the earliest ripe are the Champaign, the Green, the Black, and Red hairy Goosberries, every one of which has a Flavour distinct from the other sorts, and so will yield each of them a Wine of as different a relish from the rest, as one may expect to find among the several Varieties of the French growth. The most forward of these kinds about London ripen early in this Month, if the Season be good; but the later forts are not generally ripe till the end of the Month, or in July. The later sorts are commonly the white Dutch, the Amber, and the Walnut-Goosberries, each of which has likewise a different fort of taste: of the Amber especially I have known an excellent Wine to be made. Again, we must consider, that as to the time of their ripening, the diversity of Situations will forward or retard them a Fortnight or three Weeks; and beside, as we have observed above, every Season is not alike, and we must have regard also to the difference of Climate, one part of Britain is three Weeks sooner or later than another: and when I say in any one of my Kalendars, or Monthly Directories, that any particular Fruit is ripe, or any particular thing is to be done in such a Month, it must be understood that it is generally so, but will vary now and then, as the Season is more or less forward. There is likewise another thing to be consder'd relating to the ripeness of Fruits, and that is, the different Opinions or Tastes of Mankind; some call them ripe when they just begin to turn: but what I mean by ripeness, is, when a Fruit is as tender as it can be, and possessing its highest Flavour: And by those Fruits which I call half ripe, I mean such as have their inward Juices sweet, and their outward Parts a little hard and sour. In this state should the Goosberry be gather'd for making of Wine, See the following Receipt.

To make Goosberry-Wine.
Gather your Goosberries in dry Weather, when they are half ripe, as I have explained in the above Preliminaries, pick them and bruise them in a Tub, with a wooden Mallet, or other such like Instrument, for no Metal is proper; then take about the quantity of a Peck of the bruised Goosberries, put them into a Bag made of Horse-Hair, and press them as much as possible, without breaking the Kernels: repeat this Work till all your Goosberries are press'd, and adding to this press'd Juice, the other which you will find in the Tub, add to every Gallon three Pounds of powder Sugar, for Lisbon Sugar will give the Wine a taste which may be disagreeable to some People, and besides it will sweeten much more than the dry powder Sugar; stir this together till the Sugar is dissolved, and then put it in a Vessel or Cask, which must be quite fill'd with it. If the Vessel holds about ten or twelve Gallons, it must stand a Fortnight or three Weeks; or if about twenty Gallons, then about four or five Weeks, to settle, in a cool Place: then draw off the Wine from the Lee, and after you have discharg'd the Vessel from the Lees, return the clear Liquor again into the Vessel, and let it stand three Months, if the Cask is about ten Gallons; or between four and five Months, if it be twenty Gallons, and then bottle it off. We must note, that a small Cask of any Liquor is always sooner ripe and fit for drinking than the Liquor of a larger Cask will be; but a small Body of Liquor will sooner change sour, than that which is in a larger Cask. The Wine, if it is truly prepared, according to the above Directions, will improve every Year, and last several Years.

Original Receipt in 'English Housewifry' by Elizabeth Moxon, 1764 (Moxon 1764)

To every quart of gooseberries, take a quart of spring water, bruise them in a mortar, put the water to them and let them stand two or three days, then strain it off, and to every gallon of liquor put three pounds and a half of sugar, then put it into the barrel, and it will of itself rise to a froth, which take off, and keep the barrel full; when the froth is all work'd off, bung it up for six weeks, then rack it off, and when the lees are clean taken out, put the wine into the same barrel; and to every gallon put half a pound of sugar, made in syrrup, and when cold mix with wine; to every five gallons, have an ounce of isinglass, dissolv'd in a little of the wine, and put in with the syrrup, so bung it up; when fine, you may either bottle it or draw it out of the vessel. Lisbon sugar is thought the best. This wine drinks like sack.

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