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Tonic wine is a wine in which a single herb or blend of herbs, barks, roots or spices has been macerated for a short period of time. It is a pleasant and effective way of taking tonic & medicinal herbs to aid the digestion & strengthen the body. The most well-known and popular kind of tonic wine is the winter favourite mulled wine, a heated blend of red wine and orange juice infused with Cinnamon, Nutmeg & cloves. It is an excellent cure for the winter blues.
Tonic Wines are usually best prepared with a medium to sweet white wine, as many people are intolerant to red wine, which can cause headaches. If possible, use an organic wine when making your own tonic wines.
Heres a selection of herbs used in tonic wines. Wherever possible use fresh herbs (dried roots, berries or barks can also be used). Do not use powdered spices in these recipes, they will be difficult to strain off and leave a gritty taste in the mouth.
These are all suggestions to be added to a 750ml bottle of wine.
Borage (Borago officinalis) a handful of fresh herb steeped in medium white wine for several hours with the juice of a lemon makes a refreshing & restorative summer drink that lifts the spirits.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) one quill steeped in either red or white medium wine for one week, it sweetens the wine and is warming and stimulating.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) a 1 piece of root steeped in red or white wine for one week. Ginger is revitalising, warming and stimulating. Good for indigestion & colds.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) a handful of fresh herb steeped in sweet white wine for several hours makes an uplifting & cheering wine, very good for the winter blues.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) a handful of fresh herb steeped in a medium to sweet white wine is a good tonic wine, excellent for settling the stomach.
Sweet Woodruff (asperula odorata) 5g of fresh flowering herbs steeped in medium white wine for 3 hours is an excellent tonic for strengthening the body and mind.
Rosemary Tonic Wine
1 bottle of medium white wine
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
Open the bottle of wine and insert the sprigs of Rosemary (You may need to pour out a little of the wine so that the herbs will fit in the bottle). Make sure that the herb is completely immersed in the wine. Cork the bottle and leave in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Strain off the herbs and take a small glassful (about 250mls) as a tonic. Rosemary improves circulation, it is also a stimulant, so avoid taking before bed. Take half an hour before meals to aid the digestion.
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