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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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cordial whether adjective or noun, is derived from the Latin word for the heart, cor. As a noun, it may mean a medicine, or medicinal food or drink, with the property of stimulating the heart and therefore the circulation. The term came also to mean a fruit syrup or concentrated and sweetened fruit-based beverage, presumably because it was believed that a preparation of this sort would have this effect. This sense of the word dates back to medieval times.

A well-known French cordial is cassis, made with blackcurrant juice. Another, this time one of those strong alcoholic drinks which are generally referred to as liqueurs, is ratafia.