Have you ever heard of ebulum? The word is the ancient Latin name for dwarf elder, Sambucus ebulus and today seems to refer to a strong elderberry ale made from roasted oats, barley, and wheat boiled with herbs and then fermented with ripe elderberries. The tradition goes back to 9th century Celtic times when Welsh druids made it and passed it to the people during the Autumn festival. Dwarf elderberry is native to central and southern Europe and has been used in the folk medicine of the Balkan Peninsula for centuries. The plant is herbaceous, 3 feet tall, and dies back in the winter. It produces flat clusters of small cream colored flowers tinted with pink in late summer, and small glossy black berries in fall. Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Here is the recipe of my paternal grandmother, Helen S. Wright, as written in her own words in her book “Old Time Recipes for Home made Wines:”
To one hogshead of strong ale take a heaped bushel of elderberries, and one-half pound of juniper-berries beaten. Put in all the berries when you put in the hops, and let them boil together till the berries break in pieces, then work it up as you do ale. When it has done working add to it one-half pound of ginger, one-half ounce of cloves, one-half ounce of mace, one ounce of nutmegs, one ounce of cinnamon, grossly beaten, one-half pound of citron, one-half pound of eringo root, and likewise of candied orange-peel. Let the sweetmeats be cut in pieces very thin, and put with the spice into a bag, and hang it in the vessel when you stop it up. So let it stand till it is fine, then bottle it up, and drink it with lumps of double refined sugar in the glass.
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