Must-Have Thanksgiving Drink: 12th Century Spiced Wine by Liz Vidyarthi

For the month of November, we have asked some of our favorite food bloggers to share recipes for their must-have Thanksgiving dishes. Join us to see what will be on their tables this year and for years to come.


12th Century Spiced Wine from Liz Vidyarthi



This spiced wine recipe dates back a good number of years—about 900 to be exact. A family friend who studies the scribbles and doodles in the margins of ancient manuscripts found it scrawled in a medieval document, by a 12th century fellow named Hippocras.


My family, which loves both wine and obscure trivia, was instantly intrigued. Were people boiling fragrant bowls of spiced wine that many years ago? All the ingredients—sugar, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom—would have been rare in medieval Europe, but available for the wealthy. In particular, the ginger (fairly unusual in today’s recipes) adds a special, spicy warmth.


The true answer is probably lost to time, but I love the idea of some cleric, looking forward to a hot drink after work, jotting down a recipe just like we do today.


12th Century Spiced Wine

1 bottle of red wine (750 ml)
¼ cup sugar
3-4 slices ginger
4 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
5 cardamom pods, crushed
4 thin slices lemon (I use Meyer lemon)

Combine, simmer on low for 15 minutes and serve warm.


Liz Vidyarthi is a photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. On her blog, Liz V. Photography, she shares shots of great food, beautiful spaces and interesting people – around the city, and around the world.

(image and recipe courtesy of Liz Vidyarthi)


Do you serve any special drinks at your Thanksgiving meal?