The perfect digestif after a heavy festive meal
Serve in dainty liqueur glasses with little spoons on top of a cake stand—this is how they would have been served in the past.
750ml red wine (not the cheapest nor the most expensive)
60g raw sugar
2 long pepper buds, crushed
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp ground ginger
1 sprig of marjoram (optional)
1 cardamom pod, bruised (optional)
Peel and juice of 1 clementine
60ml sloe gin or cherry brandy (optional)
1 gelatine leaf for each 100ml ypocras
Pour 200ml red wine into a saucepan with the sugar, all of the spices (including the marjoram and cardamom, if using) and the clementine juice and peel. Heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 10 mins, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 mins more. Allow to cool. When nearly cold, add the remaining wine and the sloe gin, if using. Set aside overnight to take up those lovely flavours.
To make the jelly, strain the wine and measure the liquid. Soak the required number of gelatine leaves in water until soft—if you are using one large 800ml jelly mould, add two extra leaves of gelatine to ensure that the jelly stays upright.
Warm the ypocras in a saucepan but do not let it boil. Remove from the heat. Gently squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine, add it to the wine and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the mixture into dainty glasses or small moulds and allow to set for 3-4 hours, or 8-12 hours if using a large mould.
Recipe and image: Regula Ysewijn