This makes a seriously large amount of currant wine: 86 pounds of sugar to over 100 pints of water and 80 pounds of red or blackcurrants… Wow!
To Make a Quarter Cask of Curran Wine
86 pds of the best Jamaica sugar
27 half gallons of fine soft cold water
80 pds of pickid whole carrans full ripe
10 eggs put in to the cask hole.
The liquor is put in the caske & 2 qurts of good brandy
Not to be dranke till 4 years old
Brandy was added to fortify the wine, and the eggs to clarify it. The only yeast included in this recipe is that which is found naturally on the fruit skins. But while the list of ingredients looks reasonable enough, the method is minimalist to say the least. For a better idea of what was involved in brewing this kind of fruit wine, this second recipe is worth a look:
Take 16 pounds of full ripe currants. Break them small, stalks & all, in an earthen pan. Put to them 16 quarts of pipe water. Let it stand 24 hours, stiring it 3 or 4 times. Strain it throw a hair sieve. Then put [for] every four quarts of liquor 3 pounds of ye best Jamaica sugar. Let it stand 2 or 3 days, to work. Then fill up your cask. Save some of the liquor to keep ye vessel full till it done workeing. When it has done working, stope it close. It will be fit to bottle at Christmass.
It’s worth noting that this recipe calls specifically for pipe water rather than the river water used in our Irish Sack recipe – and consequently requires a lot less time in skimming the liquor for scum!