Blackberry wine, dandelion wine, and old-fashioned ginger beer

>These are technically Pagan recipes but they really could be enjoyed by anyone. We eat (well, drink!) these things at Mabon, which is the fall equinox, typically between September 20 and 23. I don’t see any reason why they could not be enjoyed throughout the fall season all the way through Samhain (Halloween) to Yule (December 19-22). Wines and ginger beer seem to taste better when you put the work into making them yourself.

Please refer to this blog for information about Mabon in general:

Blackberry Wine

3 pounds of blackberries
3 pounds of sugar
1 gallon of boiling water

Wash berries, put in large bowl and pour over them the boiling water. Stir well, then cover the bowl and leave for ten days. Strain liquid through muslin, add the three pounds of sugar and stir well. Cover the bowl and leave for three days, but stir daily. Put into bottles and cork, loosely at first. The wine will be ready to drink in six months.

Even though this recipe takes six months from start to finish, it is worth it. Blackberry season peaks in June in the South and July in the North, so my advice is to get your fresh blackberries and start making the wine around Mabon to be enjoyed the following Mabon. Sometimes the best things take the longest time to come to fruition!

Dandelion Wine
2 quarts dandelion flowers
3 pounds sugar
1 ounce yeast
1 lemon
1 orange
1 gallon boiling water

Pick the dandelions on a sunny day. Pick just the heads until you have two quart jugs full. Wash flowers and put into a large bowl. Slice orange, lemon thinly and add to the flowerheads. Pour boiling water on top of them, stir well. Cover bowl, leave for ten days, no more. Strain liquid into another bowl, stir in the 3 pounds sugar. Spread the yeast on a piece of toast, and float on top. Cover the bowl and leave for another 3 days. Remove the toast, strain again, and bottle. Cork loosely at first. The wine will be ready to drink in 3 months.

Dandelions typically grow in the spring – or year-round in warm climates – so my advice is to gather your dandelions in the spring to enjoy the wine for Mabon.

Old-Fashioned Ginger Beer
For The Starter:
1/2 Ounce Yeast
2 Teaspoons Sugar
To Feed The “Plant”:
7 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
7 Teaspoons Sugar
To Flavour:
1 1/2 Pounds Sugar
Juice Of 2 Lemons

Mix starter ingredients with 3/4 pint of warm water in a glass jar. Stir, cover and leave in a warm place for 24 hours. This is your starter “plant”. Feed the “plant” with 1 teaspoon each of ground ginger and sugar each day. After 7 days strain through a fine sieve. Dissolve the sugar in 2 pints of water. Add the lemon juice and the liquid from the “plant”. Dilute with 5 pints of water, mix well and store in corked bottles for at least 7 days.

Use strong bottles as pressure may build up which will cause thin bottles to explode. For the same reason use corked bottles rather than those with a more secure closure that will not ‘give’ under pressure.

The amount of sugar in the final stage can be varied according to taste.

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