Round about the cauldron go; In the poison’d entrails throw, – …
Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn; and, cauldron, bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake, in the cauldron boil and bake
Eye of newt and toe of frog, wool of bat and tongue of dog …
What ingredients for a Brew! As the witches in Macbeth prepare their spell and it goes on and on … Nothing as charmed in my experience!
There was a time when I would scour the market at the end of season to buy up the fruits that no one else wanted. Then with my little pocket book on wine making, no spells included, I would concoct a brew to suit our thirsting palate. We had a standby base wine which was made from apples which were plentiful as windfalls which we would blend with other fruits to go with fish etc., to make our homemade white wines.
The most surprising thing was that when the apple wine which had been stopped with SO2 and laid down in the cupboard at the bottom of the stairs suddenly decided to try to shoot the cupboard door off its hinges and blew all of its corks! The wine had remembered the time when the apple tree came into bloom in the spring, the wine began to work again and the ensuing gas blew all the corks! After that we brewed and matured the apple in ex-chlorine drums from the swimming pool where our friend worked.
However, not to be outdone, we also tried to use fruit and veg from our garden and local hedgerows and the most beautiful and yet most unexpected brew was found 8 years after the making. This time, while clearing out the under stairs cupboard at the lowest and most inaccessible level we found 6 bottles of Elderberry wine which had been bottled in old Croft Original sherry bottles.
Well, when we tasted the first bottle we could not believe it, as the elderberry which can be an overpowering flavour had taken on some of the sherry taste which masked the elder flavour.
We had great fun getting guests to taste the wine in a small glass, asking them to identify the drink. Most said Port and some said Burgundy none said Elderberry! What a Beautiful Brew!
Sadly, taking on so many extra responsibilities of family and work meant we had no time to home brew anymore and then of course when we decided to go on our retreat to Spain for 12 years we were spoilt for choice being literally surrounded by Bodegas and at such reasonable prices it is no wonder that expats can become too fond of the local nectar!
On our return to Blighty we have been pleasantly surprised to find several Supermarkets that sell drinkable wines and with regular deals we can afford to have our glass of the red with our evening meal! But never to excess you understand?
There is another Beautiful Brew which we enjoy whose aroma percolates through the house and pre-empts the bell that calls us to breakfast! It is of course that tantalising perfume of coffee which for many sets the taste buds going in anticipation, including our own!
It has now been found that three cups of coffee a day can flush the arteries and keep you free of cholesterol. Well, we have a cup, admittedly small, after breakfast, one at 10.00 am, one after lunch and the final one or two after dinner, depending on how much is left over, having had the occasional extra. So it seems, as usual, we are ahead of the game!
Since tea, both green and black is supposed to be good as a detox we have tea, of whichever colour we choose, at 15.00 hrs. Just ahead of this post we heard of the micro plastics from tea-bags fouling the oceans and we have gone back to loose leaf tea and I have to say that for me favouring the Green, at least, I relish the difference and find it another Beautiful Brew. There is something really satisfying in the ceremony: warming the pot, adding the loose tea, then hot water and allowing it to mash and brew so beautifully!
Although brought up in a pub I was never a fan of beer, having been made badly ill by a so called friend in my youth, not at all my own fault!! But I was introduced to real alcohol by a kindly Uncle through Cherry Brandy and then on to Whisky with Canada Dry or Dry Ginger, but I have to say that those days are gone and together with an occasional Port or Brandy I am a confirmed lover of the Grape. Never mixing with the grain!
So red wine is my Beautiful Brew any day of the week with any meal, not being more Catholic than the Pope, like some insisting on white with fish!! And I believe that Champers is definitely overrated, but Prosecco shared with the family on a special occasion is not to be sniffed at! Although my Father-in-law used to give the thumbs down to its cousin Spumante saying: Spumante by name and Spumante by nature! I’ll leave you to like or dislike!
He did however make his own beautifully brewed beer, so I was told, and the spent hops were used as a mulch for his passion of the perfumed garden of red roses surrounded by lavendula nana dark purple, low growing lavender. The roses and lavender being my passion too! Concocting a beautiful brew of colour and perfume in our postage patch is a never ending source of Joy and happiness.
© David Tenneson –2018