Did you know? The popularity of verjuice (the juice of unripe grapes, apples and gooseberries) reached its peak in the Middle Ages. Verjuice is made by pressing unripe fruits and immediately bottling the juice. This acidic condiment was added to sauces.
Medieval cookery books, which were aimed at the elite, contain few recipes for beverages. Even though it was not used for cooking, beer was a very popular drink: by the end of the Middle Ages, the average city dweller drank about one litre of beer a day. Lemonades, verjuice based drinks and syrups are only mentioned in a Moorish-Andalusian book from the 13th century. In Spain, people drank grenadine or lemonade with mint, basil and cloves, but syrup made from roses, violets, coriander and lavender was popular too.
Flemish and French cookery books exclusively mention recipes for mulled wine, the ingredients of which (cinammon, ginger, galangal and sugar) are still used in contemporary mulled wine.
Homemade watercress syrup
- 250 g honey
- 250 g water
- 1 lemon (sliced)
- 50 g watercress leaves
- Bring the water to the boil, remove from the heat and add the honey.
- Add the sliced lemon, infuse for 5 minutes and pour through a sieve.
- Add the watercress leaves and leave under a lid for 1 hour.
- Pour the syrup through a fine sieve and store in the refrigerator in clean bottles.
- If you want to make watercress lemonade, use this syrup in a proportion of 10%.
Berry verjuice lemonade
- 20 ml jasmine syrup
- 10 ml orange juice
- 10 ml verjuice
- 5 drops of cocoa essence
- 100 ml tonic
- 1 large ball of ice
- Pour all ingredients except the tonic into a mixing cup, stir and serve on ice in a tumbler.
- Top with a tonic with a Mediterranean or spiced flavour.
- Finish with a sprig of rosemary.