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"Uisquebathe", "usquebath", "usquebaugh", the water of life, which word eventually became "whiskey", though the recipes from the 16th-18th century for this "Irish cordial" are very far from what whiskey is now.

Irish Cordial

This is based off "To Make the Lord Verneys Usquebath" and "To Make Usquebath" from Cindy Renfrow's "A Sip Through Time" and the recipe is originally in "Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery" (ed. by Karen Hess).  The original date of the recipe could be anywhere from the late 1500's to the late 1600's.

3-1/2 cup vodka
4-1/2 cup brandy
1 pound dark raisins, chopped
6 dried dates, chopped
10 fresh figs, chopped
1 ounce cinnamon, in sticks, broken up
1/2 ounce dried licorice root

No sugar syrup is needed.  The sweetness comes from the dried fruits.  You can use dried figs instead of fresh, but try to use the softest (i.e., least dried) figs and dates you can find.  Licorice root can also be hard to find: I used tea bags from a health food store, but make sure they're pure licorice root and nothing else added.

Put all ingredients together in a large glass container and keep out of direct sunlight, stirring at least once a day for 10 days.  Strain first through a wire strainer, pressing out as much liquid as possible, and then strain again through a fine mesh coffee filter or cheesecloth, reserving the liquid.   A lot of the liquid will have been absorbed by the dried fruit: from these 8 cups of alcohol, I got about 6-1/2 cups of cordial. 



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 1st, 2009 10:00 pm (UTC)

(It's pronounced Ish ke , ba ha )
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