Make Ahead

Anne Willan's Ypocras (Spiced Red Wine)

February 19, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 3 cups (750 ml)
Author Notes

In this variation on a technique from the 1300s, mulled wine gets the sangria treatment -- and stops simmering the booze away. In addition to sipping the sweet, spiced red wine, Anne Willan suggests, "Ypocras, diluted with an equal amount of water, is perfect for poaching whole pears or peaches, and a teaspoon of Ypocras in a glass of sparkling white wine makes an unusual Kir." Recipe adapted slightly from The Cookbook Library (University of California Press, 2012). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup brown sugar (200 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground grains of paradise (you can find them online or substitute an equal amount of ground black pepper)
  • 1 bottle fruity red wine, such as Merlot (750 ml)
  • Cheesecloth
  1. In a medium nonmetallic bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, mace, cloves and grains of paradise. Add the wine and stir well. Leave for 10 minutes, then stir again to dissolve the sugar fully. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 days.
  2. Strain the wine mixture through a strainer lined with a double layer of cheesecloth into a bowl. A brown deposit will be left on the cheesecloth. Rinse it off and strain the wine at least once more through the cheesecloth to clarify it as well as possible. Store the wine in an airtight container (if you like, use the original bottle) at room temperature. It will keep for up to 1 month.
  3. Note: If you wish to grind your own spices, allow a quarter ounce or 7 grams per tablespoon.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Danielle van Heeckeren
    Danielle van Heeckeren
  • Lynn Markley
    Lynn Markley
  • Kitchen Butterfly
    Kitchen Butterfly
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

14 Reviews

Karen G. September 24, 2019
Do you grind/chop the grains of paradise or soak them whole? Ty
Danielle V. December 22, 2015
I've been making my mother-in-law's Swedish glügg for years and just substituted honey for sugar for the first time. I will never use sugar again!
sadenis December 22, 2015
How much honey per cup of sugar? Is glügg cooked? Did you use raw honey? I would worry about using raw honey in the Ypocras since it may stay for a month in the bottle after making it.
Danielle V. December 22, 2015
I sweetened it to taste, so probably less than a one to one ratio. I store honey at room temp without any problems, so I see no reason that it would be a problem in this recipe. Glügg is served warm.
sadenis December 21, 2015
Mine became slimy on the second day of sitting. I have since read elsewhere that finely ground cinnamon powder reacts with the alcohol and makes the unappealing slime. I will try again, because it was yummy, and crush my brown spices leaving them coarse.
mhgoblue December 9, 2015
This is delicious! I had grains of paradise but subbed nutmeg for mace. It's sweet and spicy and wonderful. I could see Ypocras becoming an annual holiday treat. Thank you for the recipe!
Lynn M. November 22, 2015
So excited about this recipe! But need help. After following the exact recipe and following two days of letting the wine sit, the sugar hasn't dissolved resulting in a soupy like liquid. Is there anyway to resolve this? Did I pour the wine in too quickly so not to let the spices/sugar absorb the liquid? Would so greatly appreciate some counsel. Thanks!
Mary B. November 24, 2015
I had the same issue.
Kristen M. December 1, 2015
I'm sorry I missed this—did either of you use coarser brown sugars or organic sugar? I wonder if they dissolve less easily than standard brown sugar. But most importantly, how did it taste?
Lynn M. December 3, 2015
Thanks Kristen! I used regular brown sugar. After straining twice more, the wine came together a bit better but was a bit syrupy - interesting taste, guests enjoyed adding to sparkling wine. Not sure I'll make again. But love Food52!!
Tiredsillys February 25, 2013
Pepper corns or cracked black pepper?
Kristen M. February 26, 2013
Anne Willan suggested substituting an equal amount of freshly ground black pepper if you can't find grains of paradise. I'll update the recipe -- thank you for asking!
Ameliorator February 21, 2013
Coffee filter works better than cheese cloth.
Kitchen B. February 20, 2013
I think it would make a wonderful base for soaking fruits...for a fruitcake! I like it.