Very Berry Wines
From Mrs. M. Grieve's A Modern Herbal (1931)
Here is a collection of very berry wine recipes for those sultry 'blackberry summer' days, sitting on the front porch sharing friends and sipping wine made from your very own harvest.
Black Currant Wine
To every 3 quarts of juice, put the same of water, unboiled; and to every 3 quarts of the liquor, add 3 lb . of very pure, moist sugar. Put it in a cask, preserving a little for filling up. Put the cask in a warm, dry room, and the liquor will ferment itself. Skim off the refuse, when the fermentation shall be over, and fill up with the reserved liquor. When it has ceased working, pour 3 quarts of brandy to 40 quarts of wine. Bung it close for nine months, then bottle it and drain the thick part through a jelly-bag, until it be clear, and bottle that. Keep it ten or twelve months.
Blackberry jelly has been used with good effects in cases of dropsy caused by feeble, ineffective circulation, and the London Pharmacopoeia (1696) declared the ripe berries of the bramble to be a great cordial, and to contain a notable restorative spirit. Blackberry wine is made by crushing the fruit and adding one quart of boiling water to each gallon of the fruit, allowing to stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally, and then straining off the liquid. 2 lb. of white sugar are then added to every gallon, and it is kept in a tightly corked cask till the following October. This makes a trustworthy cordial astringent, used in looseness of the bowels. Another delicious cordial is made from pressing out the juice from the ripe Blackberries, adding 2 lb. of sugar to each quart and 1/2 oz. of nutmegs and cloves. Boil all together for a short time, allow to get cold and then add a little brandy.
To every quart of berries put 2 quarts of water; boil half an hour, run the liquor and break the fruit through a hair sieve; then to every quart of juice, put 3/4 of a pound of Lisbon sugar, coarse, but not the very coarsest. Boil the whole a quarter of an hour with some Jamaica peppers, ginger, and a few cloves. Pour it into a tub, and when of a proper warmth, into the barrel, with toast and yeast to work, which there is more difficulty to make it do than most other liquors. When it ceases to hiss, put a quart of brandy to eight gallons and stop up. Bottle in the spring, or at Christmas. The liquor must be in a warm place to make it work.
To every 3 pints of fruit, carefully cleared from mouldy or bad, put 1 quart of water; bruise the former. In 24 hours strain the liquor and put to every quart 1 lb. of sugar, of good middling quality, of Lisbon. If for white currants, use lump sugar. It is best to put the fruit, etc., into a large pan, and when, in three or four days, the scum rises, take that off before the liquor be put into the barrel. Those who make from their own gardens may not have a sufficiency to fill the barrel at once; the wine will not hurt if made in the pan in the above proportions, and added as the fruit ripens, and can be gathered in dry weather. Keep an account of what is put in each time.