Monday, May 9, 2016

How to Make an Anise Potion

From Bartolomeo Scappi's Opera, 1570, translated by Terence Scully:

To cook a potion of anise, sugar and cinnamon.

Get whatever amount of water you want and boil it for more than half an hour in either a glazed earthenware pot or a large glass double carafe. For every two and two-thirds liters of water, add in one ounce of anise. When it has boiled for another quarter of an hour, put in two ounces of fine sugar, carefully skimming it so the anise does not get pushed out. When it has boiled for another quarter of an hour, you will put in a quarter-ounce of whole cinnamon, immediately taking the pot off the fire and keeping the lid on it until it is half cooled: that is done so the water can pick up the essence of the cinnamon. When it is cold, filter it through white clothes, though it would be better to put it through a filter cone of coarse white wool with a bit of sponge at its bottom. That potion will have a cinnamon colour to it.

My Redaction:
1.5 quart water
1.5 tsp anise seeds
1/4 C sugar
1 stick cinnamon

Bring water to a boil and add sugar and anise. Simmer for 15 minutes then turn off heat and add cinnamon stick. When it has cooled, pour through a strainer and chill.

You could make this with powdered cinnamon as well, perhaps 1 tsp, you should just strain it more finely at the end, through a coffee filter, cheesecloth, coarse white wool, etc.

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