Birch Wine

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The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy

By Hannah Glasse

Published 1747

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The Season for procuring the Liquor from the Birch-Trees is in the Beginning of March, while the Sap is riling, and before the Leaves shout out; for when the Sap is come forward, and the Leaves appear, the Juice by being long digested in the Bark, grows thick and colour’d, which before was thin and clear.

The Method of procuring the Juice is by boring Holes in the Body of the Tree, and putting in Fossets, which are commonly made of the Branches of Elder, the Pith being taken out, you may Without hurting the Tree, if large, tap it in several Places, four or five at a Time, and by that means save from a good many Trees several Gallons every Day; if you have not enough in one Day, the Bottles in which it drops must be cork’d close, and rosin’d or wax’d; however make Use of it as soon as you can.

Take the Sap and boil it as long as any Scum rises, skimming it all the Time; to every Gallon of Liquor put four Pounds of good Sugar, and the thin Peel of a Lemon, boil it afterwards half an Hour scumming it very well, pour it into a clean Tub, and when it is almost cold, set it to work with Yeast spread on a Toast, let it stand five or six Days, stirring it often; then take such a Cask as will hold the Liquor, fire a large Match dipt in Brimstone, and throw it into the Cask, stop it close till the Match is extinguish’d, and tun your Wine, lay the Bung on light till you find it has done working, then stop it close and keep it three Months, then bottle it off.