Method

A good oak 10-pail barrel, bound with iron hoops of course, is essential for this recipe. Test it for leaks and then crush 20 lbs of the lowest-quality raisins until they form a dough-like mass. Place them in the barrel and add 6 pails warmish river water, no warmer than milk fresh from the cow. Cover the bunghole with a cloth and set the barrel on a board on a warm stove so that it will not become too hot. After 8 days, add 10 lbs honey that has been thoroughly mixed with ½ pail water. After 4 months the vinegar will be ready. Decant the vinegar and pour 4 pails warmish water over the sediment left in the barrel. Add 5 lbs honey and 2 lbs pounded tartar. Set aside for 3 months, then decant the vinegar again. Keep repeating the process. When the vinegar weakens noticeably—that is, when the raisins lose their power—add 4 shtofs sparkling wine with the 4 pails water and 5 lbs honey. If these rules are observed, you will always have good vinegar. If the mother becomes too high in the barrel, leaving little room for the vinegar, pour out all the sediment from the barrel, detach one part of the mother, and pour the remaining sediment back into the barrel. Extreme cleanliness is essential when preparing vinegar; if anything extraneous falls into the barrel, the vinegar will spoil.

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