A home winemaker will usually start off with a basic kit bought at the specialty store. After a batch or two, he or she might feel like exploring and making a unique wine or a wine that matches their taste preferences.
That is where wine making recipes come in. These wine making recipes do not really mess with the basic mixture of sugars, yeast, and water. What they do is add little bits of things that change the characteristics of the wine. Herbs and fruits are favorites for this process.
The basic idea is to put a little less water and replace it with something else. Not everything can be used though. Some herbs and fruits seeds might contain toxins, so asking a horticulturist will keep you from poisoning yourself. For fruits, you only really need to remove the seeds.
The following wine making recipes are suggestions as to what would produce a nice wine when finished, and the amounts can be changed according to your tastes.
An old favorite is mead. When we say "old favorite", we really mean old. Mead was a favorite during the Middle Ages. The basic premise of mead is that it is made with honey in addition to water.
The honey gives sweetness to the resulting wine, as well as that distinctive rich taste. Try replacing a half-liter of water with honey and mix it in well before adding yeast. This is a wine making recipe with a lot of history behind it, and the result tastes best after around a year of aging.
Berries are among the most popular choices to add to wine. They have distinct flavors and lend these to the resulting wine. Blueberries and strawberries are the most common.
Since berries do not contain enough sugars, white sugar is usually added to keep the fermentation at optimal levels. Wine connoisseurs often find blueberry notes in ordinary wines, so adding blueberries intensifies that layer of taste.
Strawberries give notes of that characteristic sweet smell. Other berries like raspberries and cranberries may also be used. You can even mix two or more types in. Just remember to keep the sugar and water ratios in proportion. Berries may change the color of the wine as well.
Bananas can go very well in wine. You can use dried bananas or crush fresh ones. Remember that dried bananas have more flavors per unit of weight. Bananas are mostly starch, so sugar is added to the mix. Another favorite in wine making recipes is citrus.
Citrus fruits give a sharp tang and aroma to wine. Oranges, limes, or lemons give wine more acidity, which makes them taste lighter and fruitier.
Other fruits that make good wine are cherries, plums, apples, peaches, apricots, and pears. Flowers that find their way into wines are dandelions, red clover, calendula, violet, rose, and elderflowers. The basic idea is that if it is edible, it can be made into wine. As usual, sugar is added to make the magic happen.
Herb wines are not very common, but they are liked in some European countries like Greece and Italy. Anise and licorice are the most common, but you should not be surprised to find herb wines made with herbs usually used in savory dishes like basil and oregano.
Remember that it is up to you what kind of wine you want to make. A wine making recipe is a guide, and the result is still dependent on the maker. Make something that matches your tastes, for that extra bit of satisfaction. Most of all, remember to be patient; with wine and others, good things come to those who wait.
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