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Hippocras[1][2] (Latin: vīnum Hippocraticum), sometimes spelled hipocras or hypocras, is a drink made from wine mixed with sugar and spices, usually including cinnamon, and possibly heated. After steeping the spices in the sweetened wine for a day, the spices are strained out through a conical cloth filter bag called a manicum hippocraticum or Hippocratic sleeve (originally devised by the 5th century BC Greek physician Hippocrates to filter water). This is the origin of the name hippocras.

History

Spiced wine was popular in the Roman Empire, as seen in the writings of Pliny the Elder and Apicius. In the 12th century, a spiced wine named "pimen" or "piment" was mentioned by Chrétien de Troyes. During the 13th century, the city of Montpellier had a reputation for trading spiced wines with England. The first recipes for spiced wine appeared at the end of the 13th century (recipes for claret and piment found in the Tractatus de Modo) or at the beginning of the 14th century (recipe for piment in the Regiment de Sanitat of Arnaldus de Villa Nova). Since 1390, the recipes for piment have been called ipocras or ypocras (Forme of Cury in England, Ménagier de Paris or Viandier de Taillevent in France), probably with reference and tribute to Hippocrates.

The drink became extremely popular and was regarded as having various medicinal or even aphrodisiac properties.

Since the 16th century, the word has been generally spelled hippocras or hipocras in English and hypocras in French. Original recipes for hippocras were made until the 19th century, when it fell out of favor. This wine is made with sugar and spices. Sugar then was considered to be medicine and the spices varied according to the recipes. The main spices are : cinnamon, ginger, clove, grains of paradise and long pepper. An English text specifies that sugar was uniquely for the lords and honey was for the people. Since the 17th century, spiced wines, in France, have been generally prepared with fruits (apples, oranges, almonds) and musk or ambergris. In England, in 1723, there was a recipe for red hippocras containing milk and brandy. The drink was well liked during medieval and Elizabethan times. Moreover, doctors prescribed it to aid digestion. It was served at most banquets all over Europe.

The drink was highly prized during the high and late Middle Ages. In France, it has been noted as the favorite drink of notorious baron Gilles de Rais, who reportedly drank several bottles every day and had his victims drink it prior to assault. Later, King Louis XIV of France was also known to enjoy it. In those times, the drink was a highly valued gift item, in the same vein as jam and fruit preserves. Hippocras fell out of fashion and was forgotten during the 18th century.

In France, hypocras is still produced in the Ariège and Haute Loire areas, though in very small quantities. It may be used either for drinking, when it is served chilled before meals, or it as an ingredient in sauces. It is also served in numerous medieval feasts all over Europe.

Since 1996 the population of Basel celebrate on New Year's morning the so-called "Aadringgede" (a drinking cheer). The "Dreizack"-fountain in the "Freiestrasse" will be filled with hippocras, or spelled in the Swiss German of Basel, hypokras. In Basel it is a tradition in winter to drink hypokras and eat the famous Basler läggerli with it.

The drink eventually inspired the Spaniards in their creation of sangria. While sweeter than hippocras, sangria was originally made with spices, including cinnamon, ginger, and pepper.

See also

References

Further reading

External links

1893 text

A drink, composed usually of red wine, but sometimes of white, with the addition of sugar and spices. Sir Walter Scott (“Quarterly Review,” vol. xxxiii.) says, after quoting this passage of Pepys, “Assuredly his pieces of bacchanalian casuistry can only be matched by that of Fielding’s chaplain of Newgate, who preferred punch to wine, because the former was a liquor nowhere spoken against in Scripture.”


This text comes from a footnote on a diary entry in the 1893 edition edited by Henry B. Wheatley.

3 Annotations

jeannine  •  Link

From Pepys At Table by Driver and Berriedale-Johnson

(p. 75-76) The "'burnt' claret, the hypocras with which Pepys allowed himself to be deceived, and Christmas Lamb's wool -spiced ale with apples- are simple devices that have changed little over the centuries. Party guests who have followed Pepys intermittent example and sworn off wine altogether may be glad to of a cup which could certainly have been made with summer fruit available to Pepys, whether or not the idea occurred to him." Their recipes follow for a variety of "hypocras" recipes (some including wine!)

From the section subtitled AN HYPOCRAS OF WHITE WINE are 3 of the 5 recipes that Pepys may have enjoyed.

Mulled Wine

Into an enameled or stainless steel pan put 3 bruised cloves, ½ stick of cinnamon, lemon and orange peel pared, 4 ozs of sugar, and half a pint of water. Boil together for 15 minutes; then add grated nutmeg, a pint of full-blooded red wine, and a wine-glass of port. Do not allow to boil again, but heat, strain, and serve.

Hypocras

Bruise together a cinnamon stick, ½ oz. coriander seeds, a blade of mace, and 1 oz of green ginger. Boil a quart of water with 8 ozs sugar for 5 minutes to make syrup.
Macerate the spices for an hour or two in some of the wine (red or white) you propose to use. Heat the mixture with the rest of the bottle of wine, the juice of half a lemon, a gill of brandy, the syrup to taste, strain clear and serve.

Lamb's Wool

Roast 8 apples; mash the, and add a quart of old ale (Winter Warmer or equivalent will do nicely). Press and strain; add grated nutmeg, powdered ginger, and sugar to taste as it heats.

in aqua altissimus  •  Link

oathe ? Hypocras OED
Forms: 4-6 ypocras, (5 ypocrate), 6-7 ipocras, hipocras, 6-7 (9 arch.) ippocras, hypocras, 7- hippocras, -crass, (6 ypo-, ipo-, hypo-, -crass(e, -crase, -crace, -craze, 7 ippocrass(e, hyppocras). [a. OF. ipocras, ypocras (a1400), forms of the proper name Hippocrates; in sense 1, after the med.L. name, vinum Hippocraticum 'wine of Hippocrates', app. given to it because it was filtered through 'Hippocrates' sleeve' or 'bag': see next. See Skeat Chaucer V. 361.
c1369 CHAUCER Dethe Blaunche 571 Ne hele me may noo physicien, Noght ypocras, ne Galyen
1600 HEYWOOD 1st Pt. Edw. IV Wks. 1874 I. 10 We'le take the tankards from the conduit-cocks To fill with ipocras and drinke carouse.
1613 in Crt. & Times Jas. I (1849) I. 285 The king and queen were both present, and tasted wafers and hippocrass, as at ordinary weddings.

2. hippocras bag. A conical bag of cotton, linen, or flannel, used as a filter or strainer. Obs.
1601 HOLLAND Pliny II. 153 The wholesomest wines..be such as haue run through a strainer or Ipocras bag, and thereby lost some part of their strength.
1641 FRENCH Distill. v. (1651) 123 When you would have this or any other Liquor to be very clear, you may use the triple Hypocras bag.
1674 J. JOSSELYN Voy. New Eng. 190 Put them in an Hippocras bag and let it drain out of it self.
Hippocratic Name of a famous ancient Greek physician born about 460 B.C.
[ad. med.L. Hippocratic-us, f. Hippocrates: see prec.]
1. Of or belonging to Hippocrates; following the method, or made according to the receipt of Hippocrates. Hippocratic oath, an oath comprising the obligations and professional conduct of physicians, taken by those entering upon medical practice Hippocratic wine, spiced wine, hippocras.
c1620 BACON Wks. (1857) III. 831 Astringents..Hippocratic wines

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1663

1664

  • Apr