Clary (Salvia sclarea) is a biennial herb that has a long history of use to remove irritants from the eye and to flavor alcoholic beverages. German wine merchants in the 16th century used clary with elderflowers as an addition to Rhine wine converting it to Muscatel, a more potent wine that Rhine wine. My paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, includes a recipe for fine clary wine in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wine.
In the words of my grandmother:
To five gallons of water put twelve and one-half pounds of sugar, and the whites of six eggs well beaten. Set it over the fire, and let it boil gently near an hour: skim it clean and put it in a tub, and when it is near cold, then put into the vessel you keep it in about half a strike of clary in the blossom, stripped from the stalks, flowers and a little leaves together, and one point of ale-yeast. Then put in the liquor, and stir it two or three time a day for three days; when it has done working, stop it up, and bottle it at three or four months old, if it is clear.
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Photo Credit: Udo Schroter, Wikimedia Commons