Medieval culinary glossary: hippocras

Image: ‘Pur fayre ypocras’ (‘To make hippocras’), Fourme of Cury, Manchester, John Rylands Library, MS English 7, folio 87r.

We have arrived at the letter h in the excerpts from my glossary of ingredients, equipment and terminology found in Richard II’s cookery treatise, Fourme of Cury (c.1390). H is for hippocras:

hippocras ypocras. Spiced and sweetened wine, either red or white or both; typically drunk at the end of a meal with wafers (fine pastries; see wafers, below). The recipe for hippocras in Fourme of Cury (no. 189, chapter 5), the only one in the collection to be written in Anglo-Norman, is really just a list of the quantities of spices – eleven in total – that are to be ground into the powder that flavours the drink. There are no instructions on how to proceed beyond ‘de toutes soit fait poudour et cetera’, ‘from all one must make a powder, etc.’. In this way, it is strikingly similar to another late fourteenth-century recipe from an English medical collection, though the latter lists sugar – or, ‘if sugar runs out’, honey – as the sweetener, and there is some variation on the spices used (CI, p. 148-49). Detailed recipes for making hippocras are found in the fourteenth-century Old French work Le Ménagier de Paris (see the commentary in chapter 5) and the fifteenth-century poetic work on manners by John Russell (Russell, pp. 125-28).

Previous: grains of paradise

Next: jelly

If you would like to know more about John Russell’s recipe for hippocras, check out my brand new video on my YouTube channel. (And there’s a bonus video, below, for just my Premium Content subscribers.)

If you would like to support my work with a one-time donation, go to the Buy me a coffee tab.

Photo by Rodolfo Quiru00f3s on

For my Yevers only (they’re my monthly Premium Content subscribers), there’s a bonus video of me reading all 56 lines of Russell’s instructions on how to make hippocras.

If you would like to join the Yevers, and get access to all the bonus material on the website, simply click onto the ‘subscribe’ button and follow the instructions. Thank you.

Subscribe to get access

Watch the bonus video when you subscribe today.

Published by Christopher Monk

Dr Christopher Monk is creating Modern Medieval Cuisine

2 thoughts on “Medieval culinary glossary: hippocras

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: