This section is from the book "The Manufacture Of Liquors, Wines, And Cordials, Without The Aid Of Distillation", by Pierre Lacour. Also available from Amazon: Manufacture of Liquors, Wines, and Cordials, Without the Aid of Distillation.
Sherry is of a deep amber color. The genuine has a dry, aromatic flavor, and fragrancy without any acidity. It ranks among the strongest white wines, and contains about 20 per cent., by measurement, of alcohol.
Let the above digest together for twenty days, in an air-tight tun or vat, frequently stirring the mass well, say once every twenty-four hours; thou add thirty-five gallons of neutral spirit of sixty per cent.; oil of bitter almonds, dissolved in the spirit, one ounce; oil of cassia, half ounce; tincture and spirit of orris-root, one quart. Add a half dozen each of oranges and lemons, cut in slices; allow it to stand ten days, and fine with one quart of milk. Add the milk while hot.
The raisins contemplated in these formulas are unsound - such as are unmerchantable, and in the last stages of decay.
The operator will recollect that honey is superior to any kind of sugar. One gallon of honey yields ten pounds of saccharine matter, and in all instances the honey should be used in either liquors, wines, or cordials.
Honey, Sugar, Syrup, etc.,.- Starch mucilage gives to wines the appearance of age, a good body, and a creamy taste. The honey, etc, is added by first dissolving it in water. The starch is added by passing the liquid through a bed of starch, or adding it in the form of flour paste. The mucilaginous quality is given by infusing any vegetable that contains mucilage that is not precipitated by alcohol, as, for instance, slippery elm bark. Raisins, tartar, grape sugar, are added to the ferment all for the same purpose - that of imparting a vinous taste and smell to the liquid. The raisins possess the power to the greatest extent; before use they should be well bruised or mashed, the better to enable the fluid to act on them.
A good imitation of wines can be made from fermenting raisins; the taste and smell that they yield it would be difficult to obtain elsewhere, other than the wine itself.
The odor is derived from essential oils, heavy oil of wine, raisin spirit, butyric and acetic ether, spirit of prunes, and Jamaica rum. The coloring is derived from burnt white sugar, cochineal, red beets, English saffron, and gamboge.
In Europe, and some parts of the United States, manufacturers ferment turnips with radishes, white sugar beets, currants, gooseberries, etc, etc. These articles can be dispensed with, as they are not always convenient or in season; and thus the manufacturer has been compelled to find substitutes, which has been done at a more economical cost. The customary formula for using beets and turnips was, three bushels of turnips, one hundred and twenty-five gallons of water, and one peck of radishes, allowed to ferment until pleasantly sour to the taste, and then charged with honey, coloring, etc. Turnips are preferable to beets, as beets leave a somewhat unpleasant taste, though sugar, aromatics, and spirit will conceal it. A very fine champagne is prepared from fermented turnips and radishes, but nothing superior to some other formulas.
2d Sherry. - Wort from pale malt of double "strength, one hundred gallons; light brown sugar, sixty pounds; honey, four gallons; ferment in an open vat or cask, then rack and add fifteen gallons neutral spirit; bitter almonds, bruised, four ounces; cassia and cloves, bruised, one ounce each; four ounces orris-root; let these macerate in the wine for two weeks, then fine with a quart of boiled milk.
When this wine is to be bottled, one gallon of Lisbon is added to eight, which greatly improves its taste, etc.,
3d Sherry. - Cider, ten gallons; bitter almonds four ounces; honey, one gallon; mustard, four ounces. Boil for thirty minutes and strain, then add spirit of orris-root (see directions for Preparing Aromatic Spirits), one half pint; essence of cassia two ounces; and rum, three quarts. Jamaica is preferable, as this wine, when made from this formula, is often prepared for the auctions. The amount of neutral spirit added, becomes an important item, owing to its cost. When this is kept in view, the tincture of grains of paradise should be substituted for spirit, and in its use the palate will guide the operator; but when the addition of spirit is required, it should be added in the proportion of five to fifteen per cent., and the tincture of grains of paradise may be combined with the neutral spirit.
Port Wine is of a deep purple color, and when new, is of a rough, strong, and slightly sweet taste. From long keeping, it deposits a large portion of its astringent matter, and loses a great part of its sweetness and acquires more flavor, and retains its strength. If too long kept, it deposits the whole of its astringent and coloring matter, and becomes deteriorated. Large quantities of neutral spirit are added to it, which causes its heating quality to the palate. It is the strongest of the wines in common use.
Port Wine. - Claret, one hundred gallons; honey, strained, twelve gallons; red tartar, one pound; powdered catechu, twelve ounces; wheat flour, made into a paste, one pint: neutral spirit, twelve gallons; two ounces each of bruised ginger and cassia, one pint of tincture of orris-root, and color with alkanet root, or dissolve six ounces bruised cochineal in a gallon of the above spirit, and one pint of burnt sugar; this will produce the desired shade of purple. For giving artificial strength, use tincture grains of paradise, and the decoction of strong tea, in quantities to suit the palate.
If this is not perfectly transparent, fine with milk or isinglass. See directions under the head of "Finings," for their use.