Archaeological evidence indicates that herbal wines were used medicinally since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians. We also know that the ancient people associated sage with longevity and that the ancient Greeks and Romans used it sage as a traditional herbal remedy. In subsequent years it was used to treat a variety of ills such as  seizure, ulcers, gout, rheumatism, inflammation, dizziness, tremor, paralysis, diarrhea, and hyperglycemia. My grandmother, Helen, S. Wright, included two recipes for sage wine in her book, Old Time Recipes for Home made Wines, published in 1909. The recipes differ primarily in the type of sage used in the recipe; the first recipe uses red sage (probably Salvia miltorrhiza) while the second recipe uses “green sage”, probably Salvia officinalis. Grandmother made no comment about the use of the sage wine. Photo Credit H. Zell Wikimedia Commons

Here is the recipe using “green sage” in the words of my grandmother.

Take six pounds of Malaga raisins picked clean and shred small, and one peck of green sage shred small; then boil one gallon of water. Let the water stand till it is lukewarm, then put it in a tub to your sage and raisins; let it stand five or six days, staring it twice or thrice a day. Then strain and press the liquor from the ingredient, put it in a cask, and let it stand six months; then draw it clean off into another vessel. Bottle it in two days; in a month or six weeks it will be fit to drink, but best when it is a year old.

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By Karen