A RECEIPT FOR MAKING OF MEATH
Mistress Hebden telleth me, that the way of making Honey-drink in Russia, is thus; Take for example, 100 Gallons of Spring water, boil it a little; then let it stand 24 hours to cool, and much sediment will fall to the bottom; from which pour the clear, and warm it, and put 20 or 25 Gallons of pure honey to it, and lade it a long time with a great woodden battle-dore, till it be well dissolved.
The next day boil it gently, till you have skimed off all the scum that will rise, and that it beareth an Egge boyant. And in this Liquor you must put, in the due time, a little quantity of Hops, about two handfuls, which must boil sufficiently in the Liquor. Put this into the cooling fat to cool two or three days. When it is about milk-warm, take white-bread and cut it into tosts, upon which, (when they are hot) spread moderately thick some fresh sweet Ale-yest; and cover the superficies of the Liquor with such tosts; Then cover the Tub or Fat with a double course sheet, and a blancket or two, which tye fast about it.
This will make your Liquor work up highly. When you find it is near it’s height of working, and that the Liquor is risen to the top of the Tub (of which it wanted 8 or 10 Inches at first,) Skim off the tosts and yest, and Tun it up in a hogshead: which stop close; but after 24 hours draw it into another barrel: for it will leave a great deal of sediment. It will work again in this second barrel. After other 24 hours draw it into another barrel, and then it will be clear and pale like White-wine.
Stop it up close, hanging a bag of bruised spice in the bung; and after five or six months, it will be fit to drink. If you would have your Meath taste of Raspes, or Cherries (Morello, sharp Cherries, are the best) prepare the water first with them; by putting five or six Gallons of either of these fruits, or more, into this proportion of water; in which bruise them to have all their juyce: but strain the Liquor from the Grains or Seeds, or Stones. And then proceed with this tincted water, as is said above. You may make your Liquor as strong, as you like, of the fruit. Cardamon-seeds mingled with the suspended spices, adde much to the pleasantness of the drink. Limon-peel, as also Elder-flowers.
MY LADY BELLASSISES MEATH
The way of making is thus. She boileth the honey with Spring-water, as I do, till it be cleer scumed; then to every Gallon of Honey, put in a pound or two of good Raisins of the Sun; boil them well, and till the Liquor bear an Egge. Then pour it into a Cowl or Tub to cool. In about 24 hours it will be cool enough to put the yest to it, being onely Lukewarm: which do thus: spread yest upon a large hot tost, and lay it upon the top of the Liquor, and cover the Tub well, first with a sheet, then with coverlets, that it may work well.
When it is wrought up to it’s height, before it begin to sink, put it into your barrel, letting it run through a loose open strainer, to sever the Raisins and dregs from it. Stop it up close, and after it hath been thus eight or ten days, draw it into bottles, and into every bottle put a cod of Cardamoms, having first a little bruised them as they lie in the cod; and opening the cod a little, that the Liquor may search into it. Stop your bottles close, and after three or four moneths you may drink, and it will be very pleasant and quick, and look like white wine.
In every three Gallons of water, boil Rosemary, Liverwort, Balm, ana, half a handful, and Cowslips two handfuls. When the water hath sufficiently drawn out the vertue of the herbs, pour all into a Tub, and let it stand all night. Then strain it. And to every three Gallons of the clear Liquor (or 2-1/2, if you will have your drink stronger) put one Gallon of honey, and boil it, till it bear an Egge, scuming it till no more scum will rise: which to make rise the better, put in now and then a Porrenger full of cold water.
Then pour it into a Tub, and let it stand to cool, till it be blood warm, and then put by degrees a Pint of Ale-yest to it, to make it work. So let it stand three days very close covered. Then skim off the yest, and put it into a seasoned barrel; but stop it not up close, till it have done hissing. Then either stop it very close, if you will keep it in the barrel, or draw it into bottles. Put into this proportion, Ginger sliced, Nutmegs broken, ana, one ounce, Cinamon bruised half an ounce in a bag, which hang in the bung with a stone in it to make it sink. You may add, if you please, to this proportion of water, or one Gallon more, two handfuls of Sweet-bryar-leaves, and one of Betony.
MR. PIERCE’S EXCELLENT WHITE METHEGLIN
In a Copper, that holdeth conveniently three hogsheads, or near so much, boil the best water, (as full as is fitting). As soon as it boileth well and high, put to it four handfuls of Sweet-bryar-leaves, as much of Eye-bright: two handfuls of Rosemary, as much of Sweet-Marjoram, and one of Broad-thyme.
Let them boil a quarter of an hour (He letteth them boil no longer, to preserve the colour of the Metheglin pale) then scum away the herbs, scuming also the water clear. Then lade out the water, (letting it run through a Ranch-Sieve) into a wide open vessel, or large Vat to cool, leaving the settlement and dregs. (He often leaves out the Eye-bright and Thyme, when he provideth chiefly for the pure tast; though the Eye-bright hurts it but little.) When it is blood-warm, put the honey to it, about one part, to four of water; but because this doth not determine the proportions exactly (for some honey will make it stronger then other) you must do that by bearing up an Egge.
But first, lave and scoop your mixture exceedingly, (at least an hour) that the honey be not onely perfectly dissolved, but uniformly mixed throughout the water. Then take out some of it in a great Woodden bowl or pail, and put a good number, (ten or twelve) New-laid-eggs into it, and as round ones as may be; For long ones will deceive you in the swiming; and stale ones, being lighter then new, will emerge out of the Liquor, the breadth of a sixpence, when new ones will not a groats-breadth. Therefore you take many, that you make a medium of their several emergings; unless you be certain, that they which you use, are immediately then laid and very round.
The rule is, that a Groats-breadth (or rather but a threepence) of the Egg-shel must Swim above the Liquor; which then put again into your Copper to boil. It will be some while, before it boil, (peradventure a goodquarter of an hour) but all that while scum will rise, which skim away still as it riseth; and it should be clear scummed by then it boileth: which as soon as it doth, turn up an hour Glass, and let it boil well a good hour. A good quarter before the hour is out, put to it a pound of White-Ginger beaten exceedingly small and searsed (which will sever all the skins and course parts from the fine) which having boiled a quarter of an hour, so to make up the whole hour of boiling, pour out the Liquor into wide open Vats to cool.
When it is quite cold, put a pottle of New-ale-barm into a Pipe or Butt, standing endwise with his head out, and pour upon it a Pail-full of your cool Liquor out of one of the Vats; which falling from high upon it with force, will break and dissipate the barm into atoms, and mix it with the Liquor. Pour immediately another pail-ful to that, continuing to do so, till all the Liquor be in. Which by this time and this course will be uniformly mixed with the barm, and begin to work. Yet scoop and lade it well a while, to make the mixtion more perfect, and set the working well on foot.
Then cover your But-head with a sheet onely in Summer, but blankets in Winter; and let your Liquor work about 24 hours or more. The measure of that is, till the barm (which is raised to a great head) beginneth a little to fall. Then presently scum of the thick head of the barm, but take not all away so scrupulously, but that there may remain a little white froth upon the face of the Liquor. Which scoop and lade strongly, mingling all to the bottom, that this little remaining barm may by this agitation be mixed a new with the whole.
Then immediately Tun this Liquor into two hogsheads that have served for Spanish-wine (be sure to fill them quite full) and there let it work two or three days; that is to say, till you see that all the feculent substance is wrought out, and that what runneth out, beginneth to be clear, though a little whitish or frothy on the upperside of the stream that runs down along the outside of the hogshead. (If there should be a little more then to fill two hogsheads, put it in a Rundlet by it self.) Then take some very strong firm Paper, and wet it on one side with some of the barm that works out, and lay that side over the bung to cover it close.
The barm will make it stick fast to the hogshead. This covering will serve for a moneth or two. Then stop it close with strong Cork fitted to the hole, with a linnen about it, to press it fast in: But let a little vent with a peg in it be made in hogshead, in some fit place above. This may be fit to broach in five or six moneths; but three weeks or a moneth before you do so, put into each hogshead half an ounce of Cinnamon; and two ounces of Cloves beaten into most subtile powder. (Sometimes he leaves out the Cloves) which will give it a most pleasant flavor; and they (as the Ginger did) sink down to the bottome and never trouble the Liquor.
If they be put in long before (much more if they be boiled) they loose all their taste and Spirits entirely. This will last very well half a year drawing. But if you stay broaching it a year, and then draw it into bottles, it will keep admirable good three or four years, growing to be much better, then when broached at six months end.
It will be purer, if you first boil the water by it self, then let it settle 24 hours; and pour the clear from the earthy sediment, which will be great, and dissolve your honey in that. You may Aromatise it with Ambergreece or Musk, or both (if you like them) by dissolving a very few Pastils in a Runlet of this Liquor, when you draw it into little vessels, (as He useth to do after five or six moneths) or with a few drops of the Extract of them.
This Metheglin is a great Balsom and strengthener of the Viscera; is excellent in colds and coughs and consumptions. For which last they use to burn it (like wine) or rather onely heat it. Then dissolve the yolk of an Egge or two in a Pint of it, and some fresh Butter, and drink it warm in the morning fasting. As it comes from the Barrel or Bottle, it is used to be drunk a large draught (without any alteration or admixtion, with a toste early in the morning (eating the toste) when they intend to dine late. Consider of making Metheglin thus with purified rain water (of the Æquinoxe) or Dew.
The handfuls of Herbs, are natural large handfuls (as much as you can take up in your hand) not Apothecaries handfuls, which are much less. If a pottle of Barm do not make it work enough to your mind, you may put in a little more. Discretion and Experience must regulate that.
You may make small Meathe the same way, putting but half the proportion of honey or less. But then after three weeks or a months barrelling, you must bottle it.
AN EXCELLENT WAY TO MAKE METHEGLIN, CALLED THE LIQUOR OF LIFE, WITH THESE FOLLOWING INGREDIENTS
Take Bugloss, Borage, Hyssop, Organ, Sweet-marjoram, Rosemary, French-cowslip, Coltsfoot, Thyme, Burnet, Self-heal, Sanicle a little, Betony, Blew-buttons, Harts-tongue, Meadssweet, Liverwort, Coriander two ounces, Bistort, Saint John’s wort, Liquorish, Two ounces of Carraways, Two ounces of Yellow-saunders, Balm, Bugle, Half a pound of Ginger, and one ounce of Cloves, Agrimony, Tormentil-roots, Cumfrey, Fennel-root’s, Clowns-all-heal, Maiden-hair, Wall-rew, Spleen-wort, Sweet-oak, Pauls-betony, Mouse ear.
For two Hogsheads of Metheglin, you take two handfuls a piece of each herb, Excepting Sanicle; of which you take but half a handful. You make it in all things as the white Meathe of Mr. Pierce’s is made, excepting as followeth. For in that you boil the herbs but a quarter of an hour, that the colour may be pale: But in this, where the deepness of the colour is not regarded, you boil them a good hour, that you may get all the vertue out of them. Next for the strength of it; whereas in that, an Egge is to emerge out of the Liquor but the breadth of a three pence; in This it is to emerge a large Groats-breadth. Then in this you take but half a pound of Ginger, and one ounce of Cloves. Whereas the white hath one pound of Ginger, and two ounces of Cloves.
To this you use three quarts, or rather more of Ale-yest (fresh and new) and when all your Liquor is in a high slender tall pipe with the narrowest circumference that may be (which makes it work better then a broad one, where the Spirits loose themselves) you have the yest in a large Noggin with a handle, or pail, and put some of the Liquor to it, and make that work; then pour it from pretty high unto the whole quantity in the pipe, and lade it strongly with that Noggin five or six, or eight times, pouring it every time from high, and working it well together, that so every Atome of the yest maybe mingled with every Atome of the Liquor. And this course (in this particular) you may also use in the white. It is best not to broach this, till a year be over after the making it.
TO MAKE GOOD METHEGLIN
Take to every Gallon of Honey, three Gallons of water, and put them both together, and set them over so soft a fire, that you may endure to melt and break the honey with your hands. When the honey is all melted, put in an Egge, and let it fall gently to the bottome, and if the Egge rise up to the top again of the Liquor, then is it strong enough of the honey; but if it lie at the bottome, you must put in more honey, stirring of it till it do rise. If your honey be very good, it will bear half a Gallon of water more to a Gallon of Honey. Then take Sweet-bryar, Rose-mary, Bayes, Thyme, Marjoram, Savory, of each a good handful, which must be tyed up all together in a bundle.
This Proportion of herbs will be sufficient for 12 Gallons of Metheglin; and according to the quantity you make of Metheglin, you must add of your herbs or take away. When you have put these things together set it upon a quick fire, and let it boil as fast as you can for half an hour, or better, skiming of it very clean, which you must Clarifie with two or three whites of Eggs. Then take it off from the fire, and put it presently into some clean covers, and let it stand till the next morning; then pour the clear from the bottom and tun it up; putting in a little bag of such spice as you like, whereof Ginger must be the most. After it hath stood some three or four days, you may put in some two or three spoonfuls of good-ale-yest; it will make it ready the sooner to drink, if you let it work together, before you stop it up.
The older the honey is, the whiter coloured the Metheglin will be.
TO MAKE WHITE METHEGLIN OF SIR JOHN FORTESCUE
Take twelve Gallons of water, one handful of each of these herbs, Eglantine, Rosemary, Parsley, Strawberry-leaves, Wild-thyme, Balm, Liver-wort, Betony, Scabious; when your water begins to boil, cast in your herbs, and let them boil a quarter of an hour. Then strain it from the herbs. When it is almost cold, then put in as much of the best honey, as will make it bear an Egge, to the breadth of two pence; and stir it till all the honey be melted.
Then boil it well half an hour at the least, and put into it the whites of six Eggs beaten to a froth to clarifie it; and when it hath drawn all the scum to the top, strain it into woodden vessels. When it is almost cold, put barm to it, and when it worketh well, Tun it into a well-seasoned vessel, where neither Ale nor Beer hath been, for marring the colour; and when it hath done working, take a good quantity of Nutmegs, Mace, Cinnamon, Cloves and Ginger bruised, and put it into a boulter bag, and hang it in the barrel.
If you will have it taste much of the spice, let it boil 3 or 4 walms in it, after you have put in the honey. But that will make it have a deep colour.
A RECEIPT FOR MEATHE
To seven quarts of water, take two quarts of honey, and mix it well together; then set it on the fire to boil, and take three or four Parsley-roots, and as many Fennel-roots, and shave them clean, and slice them, and put them into the Liquor, and boil altogether, and skim it very well all the while it is a boyling; and when there will no more scum rise, then is it boiled enough: but be careful that none of the scum do boil into it. Then take it off, and let it cool till the next day. Then put it up in a close vessel, and put thereto half a pint of new good barm, and a very few Cloves pounded and put in a Linnen-cloth, and tie it in the vessel, and stop it up close; and within a fortnight, it will be ready to drink: but if it stay longer, it will be the better.
MY LORD GORGE HIS MEATHE
Take a sufficient quantity of Rain-water, and boil in it the tops of Rose-mary, Eglantine, Betony, Strawberry-leaves, Wall-flowers, Borage and Bugloss, of each one handful; one sprig of Bays; and two or three of Sage. Then take it off the fire, and put a whole raw Egge into it, and pour so much honey to it, till the Egge rise up to the top; then boil it again, skiming it very well, and so let it cool. Then Tun it up, and put Barm to it, that it may ferment well. Then stop it up, and hang in it such spices, as you like best. It will not be right to drink under three or four moneths.
THE LADY VERNON’S WHITE METHEGLIN
Take three Gallons of water (rain water is best) boil in it broad Thyme, Rose-mary, Peny-royal, of each three handfuls. Then put it into a stone Pan to cool, and strain away the herbs; and when it is cold, put in one quart of honey, and mix it very well; then put to it one Nutmeg, a little Cinnamon; Cloves and Ginger; some Orange and Limon-peels. Then boil and scum it very well, while any scum will rise.
Then put in your spices, and try with a New-laid-egg; and the stronger it is, the longer you may keep it; and if you will drink it presently, put it up in bottles, and rub the Corks with yest, that it may touch it, and it will be ready in three or four days to drink. And if you make it in the spring put no spices, but Cloves and Cinnamon, and add Violets, Cowslips, Marigolds, and Gilly-flowers; and be sure to stop your vessel close with Cork; and to this put no yest, for the Clove-gilly-flowers will set it to work.
SEVERAL SORTS OF MEATH, SMALL AND STRONG
1. Small. Take ten Gallons of water, and five quarts of honey, with a little Rosemary, more Sweet-bryar, some Balme, Burnet, Cloves, less Ginger, Limon Peel. Tun it with a little barm; let it remain a week in the barrel with a bag of Elder-flowers; then bottle it.
2. Small. Take ten quarts of water, and one of honey, Balm a little; Minth, Cloves, Limon-peel, Elder-flowers, a little Ginger; wrought with a little yest, bottle it after a night working.
3. Strong. Take ten Gallons of water; thirteen quarts of honey, with Angelica, Borrage and Bugloss, Rosemary, Balm and Sweet-bryar; pour it into a barrel, upon three spoonfuls of yest; hang in a bag Cloves, Elder-flowers, and a little Ginger.
4. Very Strong. Take ten Gallons of Water, and four of honey, with Sea-worm-wood, a little Sage, Rosemary; put it in a barrel, after three days cooling. Put no yest to it. Stop it close, and bottle it after three or four months.
5. Very Strong. To ten Gallons of water take four of honey. Clarifie it with flower; and put into it Angelica, Rosemary, Bay-leaves, Balm. Barrel it without yest. Hang in a bag Cloves, Elder-flowers, a little Ginger.
6. Very Strong. Take ten Gallons of water, and four of Honey. Boil nothing in it. Barrel it when cold, without yest. Hang in it a bag with Cloves, Elder-flowers, a little Ginger and Limon peel; which throw away, when it hath done working, and stop it close. You may make also strong and small by putting into it Orris-roots; or with Rose-mary, Betony, Eye-bright and Wood-sorrel; or adding to it the tops of Hypericon with the flowers of it; Sweet-bryar, Lilly of the valley.