hist-brewing: Cordials

rory rory at forgottensea.org
Mon Jun 30 07:41:30 PDT 2003


On the subject of Cordials. Several of us in Calontir (SCA) have been 
discussing that Cordials might better belong in the cooking category than in 
brewing. If for no other reason than the fact that most of the cordials that 
we see are someone adding some flavor to a pre-existing alcohol base. 

It is hard to say you made a cordial when you added fruit to Everclear. You 
didn't "brew" anything. Strictly speaking, you had nothing to do with the 
creation of the alcohol what so ever. That would be like saying you made 
coffee this morning when really all you did is grab a cup of coffee at 
QuickTrip and added sugar and cream. Hence you didn't make it. You flavored 
to taste, which isn't the same. 

However, if you made the wine/alcohol, and then distilled the alcohol from 
the base, and then made that into a cordial, then I would be impressed. 

I did that several years back with pineapples. I took fresh fruit, made that 
into a wine. After a year of aging, I took the wine and freeze distilled the 
water off. Then I added cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. . . It turned 
out heavenly. Much better than any vodka/everclear based cordial. 

At the very least, on scoring cordials in competitions, points should be 
deducted/not awarded for using an pre-made alcohol base. 


PS- As for the research, you are correct, cordials were medicinal until  
(basically) the Renaissance.

PPS- This comes from a recent War (SCA) in which several people handed me 
Cordials to try that they had "made."

On Mon, 30 Jun 2003 09:43:51 -0400, Bruce R. Gordon wrote
> Greetings
>      I've been involved in much the same sort of research - you are 
> correct, "cordials" as we use the term really don't start to emerge 
> much before the 15th-16th centuries. (1st appearance of the 
> word "cordial" in an alcoholic sense in English is in the Prologue 
> of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales).     For what it's worth, try the 
> link below - it's a short paper I did some years back on a 13th 
> century concoction. There are links at the bottom of that file 
> connecting you with a few other papers I've done on the subject. All 
> have bibliographies. The collection of papers should give you at 
> least a sense of what's out there, and some pointers as to where to 
> head next.
> http://web.raex.com/~obsidian/spcwine.html
> Bruce R. Gordon
> > I'm doing some research on cordials during the 1200's. I've 
> discovered that 
> > as a drink for pleasure, cordials did not really exist but there were 
> some 
> > drinks that were used in a medicinal capacity that could be 
> considered cordials 
> > now. But I have not been able to find any recipes or documentation. 
> Could 
> > someone please point me in the right direction?
> > 
> > Jim
> > 
> -- 
> Ex Tenebra, Lux
> http://web.raex.com/~obsidian/index.html
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