Whispering Woods Herbal Grimoire

I do not encourage drinking. But if you are of legal age and choose to do so, please do so responsibly; Crick...

Herbal Wines and Beers:                                                                                                                  

Blackberry wine, Black Currant wine, Dandelion beer, Dandelion wine, Elderberry wine, Herbal beer, Honeysuckle wine, Hop beer, Mead, Nettle beer, Parsnip wine, Rose Geranium Blackberry Liqueur, Rose petal wine, Saturnalia Spiced Wine, Sweet Woodruff wine, Traditional sweet Mead

Blackberry wine

1 gal. Blackberries

1 gal. Spring water, lukewarm

5 lb. sugar

2 slices toast

1 package yeast

In a very wide-mouthed container, crush the berries and add water. Mix in half of the sugar and stir until dissolved. Float toast on top and sprinkle with yeast. Cover container with cheesecloth and let stand for 5 days. Add remaining sugar and leave for another 2 days. Stir well. Let the mixture sit undisturbed for 3 more weeks. Strain through cheesecloth to remove seeds from wine. Bottle and serve when desired.

Black Currant wine

To every 3 quarts of juice, put the same of water, un-boiled; and to every 3 quarts of the liquor, add 3 lb .of very pure, moist sugar.

Put it in a cask, preserving a little for filling up.

Put the cask in a warm, dry room, and the liquor will ferment itself.

Skim off the refuse, when the fermentation shall be over, and fill up with the reserved liquor.

When it has ceased working, pour 3 quarts of brandy to 40 quarts of wine.

Bung it close for nine months, then bottle it and drain the thick part through a jelly-bag, until it be clear, and bottle that.

Keep it ten or twelve months.

Dandelion Beer

2 oz. each of dried Dandelion and Nettle herbs and 1 oz. of Yellow Dock.
Boil in 1 gallon of water for 15 minutes and then strain the liquor while hot on to 2 Lb. of sugar, on the top of which is sprinkled 2 tablespoonfuls of powdered Ginger.
Leave till milk-warm, then add boiled water gone cold to bring the quantity up to 2 gallons.
The temperature must then not be above 75 degrees F. Now dissolve 1/2 oz. solid yeast in a little of the liquid and stir into the bulk. Allow to ferment 24 hours, skim and bottle, and it will be ready for use in a day or two.

Dandelion Wine


2 quarts of dandelion flowers (no stem on flowers)

One gallon boiling water

Juice of two lemons

2 ½ lb. granulated sugar


Use 4 quarts boiling water to scald the flowers in an earthen crock. Let stand for 24 hours. Cover the crock with a cloth. Squeeze or strain juice through a clean muslin bag but not too hard. Let it drip out until most is all dry then squeeze not too hard or your wine will be bitter. Add juice of two lemons to one gallon of juice and 2 ½ lb. of granulated sugar. Put sugar in the glass jugs before you add the lemon juice and flower juice. Set in the sun to ferment until you see no more bubbles in the jugs and the bees stop coming. When the juice overflows at the top of the jugs, add water to fill up whenever it's overflowed. Add the clear water to the top of jug when you see no more bubbles. Takes about 2 ½ to three months to ferment. Strain through a muslin bag and put in clean jugs and seal tight. I put a small piece of muslin over the top neck of jugs and a stone on top to keep out the bugs while fermenting.

P.S. As the water evaporates at the top neck of jug, add fresh cold water to make sure the neck is full. You have to fill this once or twice a week if the sun is very hot, as you need hot sun to make good wine.

Dandelion Wine (The more raisins, the stronger your wine will be.)

Dandelion blossoms

1 Gallon of Water

1 qt. of Water

2 lbs. Sugar

2 Oranges

1 Lemon


1 handful of Raisins

Use only fresh blossoms, from which all stems are removed (otherwise it will be a bitter wine). For every gallon of flowers (well packed but not crushed) pour one gallon of boiling water over them. Let this mixture sit 24 hours or so. It will smell really weird (sort of like artichoke water - Don't worry this is okay). Then, add lemon, oranges, raisins (Note: I add 2-3 to mine!), sugar (Use a bit less than this for a drier wine) and yeast. Special wine or bread yeast both work well. Add a little (about 1 quart) of hot water over the top of this mixture. Put cheesecloth over the opening of the container (to keep bug-beasties out) and let sit and ferment for 10 days.

It will boil and bubble most merrily!

After the 10 days, strain into a cask/vat/container. If you don't have fancy wine-making equipment a bottle from those water fountain dispensers (5 gal.) with a water seal works great. For water seal, put a large cork in the top of the container through which you can run some aquarium tubing. Seal the top with duct tape (to ensure no air leaks) and run the tubing from inside the liquid about halfway inside the bottle, downwards into a bucket of water. Water seal lets the carbon dioxide escape from the fermenting wine, into the water, letting no air into the process. Let this arrangement sit for however long it takes, until there is no further fermentation/action taking place, and the liquid looks clear. Then siphon off the wine (taking care not to disturb the sediment in the bottom) and bottle it.                  
This wine can be tasted at this point, but is better if you let it sit about 3 more months.

Elderberry wine

Strip the berries making sure that they are quite ripe. Put into a dry pan and add 2 gallons of boiling water over 3 gallons of berries.
Cover and leave in a warm place for 24 hours; then strain, pressing the juice well out.
For each gallon add 3 lbs. sugar, 1/2 oz. of Ginger 1/4 oz. of cloves to each gallon.
Boil for 20 minutes slowly, then strain into a cask and ferment when luke warm. Let sit until still, before bunging. Ready to bottle in 6 months.

Herbal Beer

Mix equal quantities (2 oz. each) of Meadowsweet, Betony, Agrimony, and Raspberry leaves.
Boil the herbs in 2 gallons of water for 15 minutes, strain and add 2 lb. sugar, bottle when nearly cool.

Honeysuckle wine

6 cups honeysuckle flower petals                                                                                                                                        
7-1/2 pts water                                                                                                                                                                       
2-1/2 lbs finely granulated sugar                                                                                                                                           
3 tsp acid blend                                                                                                                                                                    
1 crushed Campden tablet                                                                                                                                                  
1/8 tsp tannin                                                                                                                                                                         
1 tsp yeast nutrient                                                                                                                                                  Champagne or Montrachet wine yeast

Rinse fresh flowers under cold water to remove dust, insects, etc. Put flowers in 2 quart saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Add 1 quart water and bring to a simmer. Fit lid and turn off heat. Let steep for three hours. Meanwhile, bring remainder of water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved.
Remove from heat, put lid on pan and allow to cool. Strain flower water into primary. Add all remaining ingredients except yeast, stirring until Campden powder is dissolved.
Cover well and set aside for 24 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. Stir daily until s.g. drops to 1.015. Rack into secondary and fit airlock. After 30 days, rack into sanitized secondary, top up and refit airlock. Set aside in dark place for 6 months, racking at 3 months and 6 months if deposits require it. Stabilize, sweeten if desired and rack into bottles. Store in dark place six months before tasting.

Hop Beer

Put 2 oz. of Hops in 2 quarts of water for 15 minutes. Then strain and dissolve 1 lb. of sugar in the liquid. To this add 4 quarts of cold water and 2 tbsp. of fresh barm. Allow to stand for 12 hours in a warm place and then bottle.   


1 Blade of Mace

6 qts. of Water

2 1/2 lbs. of Honey

1/2 teas. Cinnamon Powder

1/2 teas. Grated Fresh Ginger

2 Cloves

2 Eggs

Directions: Put the 6 quarts of water into a pan; add the honey, cinnamon, mace, ginger, cloves, and the beaten whites of the eggs. Heat, and whisk frequently, until the mixture comes to a boil, then simmer gently for an hour.
When lukewarm strain into a cask and add a small tablespoon of yeast, and cover the bung-hole with folded cloth until fermentation stops. Bung the cask tightly, and bottle the Mead in nine months' time.

Nettle Beer

Quantities of the young fresh tops are boiled in a gallon of water, with the juice of two lemons, a teaspoonful of crushed ginger and 1 Lb. of brown sugar. Fresh yeast is floated on toast in the liquor, when cold, to ferment it, and when it is bottled the result is a specially wholesome sort of ginger beer.

Rose Geranium Blackberry Liqueur

4 half pints blackberries

1 cup rose geranium leaves

4 cups vodka

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

Combine the berries, geranium leaves, vodka, and wine in a large container with a tight-fitting cover.
Set the mixture in a cool dark place to season for one month.
Open the container and bruise the berries slightly.
Cover and allow the mixture to steep for another five days.
Next, strain the mixture. Then pour through a filter.
Boil the sugar and water together in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
Allow mixture to cool and gradually stir into the liqueur. Taste. When the liqueur is to the desired sweetness, bottle and age for approximately 4 to five weeks.
Age in a cool dark place. Makes about one to two quarts.

Rose Petal Wine      

2 quarts rose petals (the stronger scented the better)

2 lb sugar

2 tsp citric acid

1 gallon water

1/2 pint grape concentrate

Juice from 1 lemon

Yeast and nutrient

Bring water to a boil, add sugar, rose petals, grape concentrate and lemon juice. Stir well. When cool, add rest of ingredients. Keep well covered and stir daily. Ferment for 1 week. Strain into a fermenting jar. Ferment until finished.

Saturnalia Spiced Wine

one average-sized bottle of red wine (Boones farm or wild Irish rose works well with this)

1-2 tbsp whole cloves

4-6 average-sized sticks of cinnamon

3-4 vanilla pods

1/2 tsp. ginger pieces, or one small crystallized piece

1-2 tbsp Damiana

1-2 tbsp jasmine flower

1-2 fresh orange peels

Mix the herbs together thoroughly, then place the contents into a large glass decanter with a tight-fitting lid. Mix the wine and the herbs together and keep in a cool, dark place, shaking the mixture every other day. After a minimum of 30 days, use a funnel to drain the wine back into a glass bottle. Then cork and enjoy.

Traditional Sweet Mead

12 lbs. (1 gallon) of honey

1 package Wyeast sweet mead yeast

4 gallons of ice cold spring or filtered water

1 tsp. yeast nutrient in 2 ounces of water to form a slurry

1 Tbsp. acid blend

Make a yeast starter about 24 hours before making your mead by combining 16 oz. of spring or filtered water, 4 oz. of honey and the sweet mead yeast in a sanitized jar. Keep the lid loose on the jar so the pressure of the carbon dioxide won't build up inside.                                                                                                                                                 
Boil one gallon of water in a kettle, then turn off the heat and add 12 lbs. of honey. Turn the heat back on as needed to hold temperature of must (honey and water mixture) at 190 degrees for 20 minutes to pasteurize. Add yeast nutrient slurry 10 minutes before end of must pasteurization.                                                                                           
Fill a sanitized five-gallon carboy with 2 gallons of ice cold water. Add acid blend to carboy then rack (siphon) must into carboy and top with remaining ice cold water to make 5 gallons.                                                                               
Cool must to 78 degrees as quickly as possible then pitch yeast starter.                                                                          Place a sanitized fermentation lock on top of the carboy and place the fermenter in a cool, dark place for five weeks. After five weeks rack off settled yeast into another sanitized carboy for ten more weeks. After 15 weeks, rack periodically as needed until mead is clear then bottle or keg.

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