Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Most of us do not have access to stills today. I suggest pouring measured boiling water over your petals and spices in a glass jug. Cover and allow to cool. Add your cooled sugar syrup and stir; and spirits and stir again. Cover and allow to steep for several weeks. Filter and bottle; store in a cool place for several more weeks before drinking. You may leave out the carmine, but as a result, your liqueur will be only slightly pink.

Rossoli: You will take musk roses, Spanish Jasmine, orange flowers [four ounces each], cinnamon [one half ounce] & [12] cloves [if clove is too strong for you, use common garden pinks flowers {œillet}, again four ounces]. When you choose well, according to what we said, you will put the whole in the Still, according to quantities' prescribed in the receipt, with [four pints] water, & will distil these matters with simple water, on a medium fire; when this receipt is distilled, you will dissolve sugar [two and three-quarters pounds] in this distillation, & when it is molten, you will pour into this distilled syrup [one bottle] brandy, or the spirit of wine [marc], according to quality or the force [proof] which you will want to give to your liquor; this being made, you will colour your liquor a crimson red [cochinille or carmine]. [Filter and bottle; store in a cool place for several weeks before drinking.]

Dictionnaire Portatif de Cuisine, d'Office, et de Distillation. Chez Vincent, Paris 1767, p. 286.

Vous prendrez des roses musquées, un peu de lys, du jasmine d’Espagne, de la fleur d’orange, de la cannelle & du clou de girofle; le tout avec leurs qualités décrites dans chacun de leurs chapitres. Quand vous aurez bien choisi, selon ce que nous avons dit, vous mettrez le tout dans l’alambic, selon les qualités presecrites dans la recette, avec de l’eau; & vous distillerez ces matieres avec de l’eau simple, sur un feu tant soit peu vif: quand cette recette sera distillée, vous ferez fonder du sucre dans cette distillation; & quand il sera fondu, vous verserex dans ce syrop distillé de l; eau-de-vie, ou de l’esprit de vin, selon la qualité ou la force que vous voudrez donner à votre liqueur; ceci étant fait, vous colorerez votre liqueur un rouge cramoisi.

Cook's Note: Carmine is cochinille/cochineal, red coloring matter derived from the carapaces of beatles that chew on Cacti in the American Southwest and Mexico--used since Spanish conquest times.

Although I have reproduced the recipe as it was written in the 17-18thC, carmine/cochineal has proven to be highly allergenic today.

Cheat and use food coloring or just be happy with the light pink color from the petals.

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