With summer gone and the first frosts now appearing you would be forgiven for wondering why I’m talking about honeysuckle wine. This year the weather has been quite unusual, to say the least. Only two days ago the daytime temperature was 15 degrees Celsius. With the summer meet and other things I had missed the original bloom of honeysuckle, The incredibly warm weather, however, caused the honeysuckle to flower a second time this year. Time to make a traditional but often overlooked wine.
Honeysuckle wine is often overlooked, mainly because it can be a little laborious preparation-wise. One other reason Honeysuckle wine gets overlooked is its utter simplicity to make. No massive amounts of sulphites, no huge barrels or brew buckets, a simple jam pan will see you right.
What Will I Need
Let’s assume you have nothing for brewing. You will need a demijohn this one even comes with the airlock and bung, a good deal!
Sugar. You can use ordinary granulated however it takes a while longer to dissolve.
A lemon and an Orange
Last but not least a large pan.
Let’s get Picking.
Its quite simple I suppose, pick only the flowers that are in full bloom, flowers going over is fine but unopened ones are no use. You need to pick 6 yes 6 cups of flowers and then remove the sapel from each flower (the little green ball)
Once you have the flowers, place them in a large pan along with 2 litres of water, some use bottled water but I used tap water for this. Bring the pan to the boil then leave to steep for 3 hours. Meanwhile, peel the lemon and orange and drop the peel in the steeping liquid, then squeeze the juice from both in the same pan.
While the steep is happening its good to bring another 1.5 litres of water to the boil and then add 2lb-1kg of sugar and stir until dissolved.
Once the sugar water has cooled down to below blood temperature you can pour the mixture into the demijohn
Time to get all our bits put together. Put 1 teaspoon of tannin in the demijohn.
Crush and add 2 yeast nutrient tablets, if using powder then 1 teaspoon add to demijohn
Time to add the all-important yeast itself. 1 teaspoon of yeast straight into the demijohn
By now the steep should be well and truly done. Strain and pour the flower water into the demijohn, fit the airlock and bung.
Time For Patience
The wine will start to ferment within the first 36 hours, it will bubble away merrily for 3-4 weeks at a constant blip. After this time the bubbling will become less and less. After 3 months it is time to syphon or pour into another container whilst you clean and remove the sediment from the demijohn.
Pour the wine back into the demijohn and leave for another 3 months. Whilst you have been patiently waiting for the wine to mature you need to acquire some wine bottles, I raid the neighbours recycling boxes. Wash them thoroughly and make sure to keep the screw cap lids. Month 6 is time to pour the wine into the bottles, drink then or keep for a nice meal, give it as gifts.
I hope you have success with the wine and do Send me any pictures you take along the way. All the items I have listed are links, please use them and I will get a small amount of commission.