“I’d give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died.” -Ophelia, Hamlet
So get this: The Ancient Romans actually made this beverage where they immersed violet blossoms in wine. Naturally, I had to try it.
The finished product is quirky. As the mixture ages, the color leaches out of the violets, leaving them looking sort of like wispy ghost-flowers.
The flavor, when all is said and done, is… quirky. It was described by our tasters as a combination of vegetal, green, and like a cheap rose with floral overtones. A smidge of wildflower honey compliments the hint of violets quite nicely. Really, though, the big appeal is in the appearance and uniqueness.
Were I to try it again (which I probably will), I’d pick off the green parts, which gave the drink some added bitterness, and mix in the honey from the beginning.
Why it should be in the Next Book:
Doesn’t it just sound like something from a GRRM book? I mean, come on.
It’s got all the inherent threat of sinister syllables, and the exotic flair of being made with flowers. It’s a recipe from Ancient Rome, a culture fabulously known for their decadent fare. I imagine it being served across the Narrow Sea, where they have other exotic fare such as persimmon wine and honeyed locusts.
Cook’s Notes: This beverage can have a mild laxative effect. Consider yourself duly warned!
…folia, albo sublato, lino inseris ut sutilis facias et uino quam plurimas infundes, ut septem diebus in uino sint. post septem dies rosam de uino tollis, et alias sutiles recentes similiter mittis, ut per dies septem in uino requiescant, et rosam eximis. similiter et tertio facies, et rosam eximis et uinum colas et, cum ad bibendum uoles uti, addito melle rosatum conficies. sane custodito ut rosam a rore siccam et optimam mittas. Similiter ut supra, et de uiola uiolacium facies, et eodem modo melle temperabis. -Apicius, 4th Century
PETALS, THE LOWER WHITE PART REMOVED, SEWED INTO A LINEN BAG AND IMMERSED IN WINE FOR SEVEN DAYS. THEREUPON ADD A SACK OF NEW PETALS WHICH ALLOW TO DRAW FOR ANOTHER SEVEN DAYS. AGAIN REMOVE THE OLD PETALS AND REPLACE THEM BY FRESH ONES FOR ANOTHER WEEK; THEN STRAIN THE WINE THROUGH THE COLANDER. BEFORE SERVING, ADD HONEY SWEETENING TO TASTE. TAKE CARE THAT ONLY THE BEST PETALS FREE FROM DEW BE USED FOR SOAKING… IN A SIMILAR WAY AS ABOVE LIKE THE ROSE WINE VIOLET WINE IS MADE OF FRESH VIOLETS, AND TEMPERED WITH HONEY, AS DIRECTED.
- 3 cups violet blossoms, each picked 1 week apart.
- 2 cups mild white wine (pinot grigio or chenin blanc should do)
- honey, to taste
Strip blossoms from stems and remove any green parts. Fill 1 quart jar with 1 cup flowers and top off with wine, and allow to sit for a week.
Strain the liquid through a sieve, and return to jar. Add the second cup of flower petals, and allow to sit for 1-2 more weeks.
Stir in a bit of honey to taste, and serve room temperature, or as a palate cleanser between courses.