Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

hippocras, or hypocras, was a sweet, spiced medicinal wine familiar in late medieval and early modern Europe. To pharmacists, it was one of a class of “infusions” in which health-giving substances were combined with drinkable liquids: drinking hippocras was thus one of the more pleasant ways to improve one’s health. The term was first recorded in the fourteenth century, and vinum Hippocraticum (as it soon became known in Latin to physicians and pharmacists) was still being prescribed in the late eighteenth century, but it is merely the best-known example of a class of medicinal wines that existed long before and still exist today.