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Shaolin Joy Juice

Classification: mead, metheglin

Source: Charlie Moody,, Mead Digest #465, 3/5/96

I've been interested in medicine and herbology (particularly Chinese) for a long time, and so when I read about metheglyns, my interest (already high) definitely perked up. Naturally, I wanted to make a medicine-metheglyn: one w/ tonic herbs, not just s pices, but it seems that none of the recipes (save those, perhaps, of Sir Digbie) use, or even discuss tonic herbs...just flavorings.

Undaunted, I burrowed my way into my health shelf for info on tonic herbs, even while I was inhaling NCJoH and the MLD archives, and after a while, pieced together a tonic herbal recipe.

NOTICE: this recipe is EXPERIMENTAL - do NOT try this at home!!!

This recipe is a starting point for my own investigations, and is certain to mutate considerably before it becomes a balanced and recommendable tonic. Your health, safety and comfort are YOUR responsibility: mess around w/ chinese herbs and you do so *e ntirely* at YOUR *OWN* RISK!



Creating an extraction from the herbs took pretty much all of 2/3/96 (9am-1am); double-container water bath method, three rounds.
   1 part each:         tang kuei               polygonum multiflorum
                        lychii fruit            schizandra berries
                        asparagi                rehmannia (processed)
                        licorice root           morindae
   2 parts each:        ginseng, chinese        astragalus
                        ginseng, american       jujube dates
   1/2 part:            eucommia bark
   trace/pinch:         peony root
                        gum frankincense
                        gum myrrh

Result: 3 quarts of fluid extract.

So: I boiled 1 gal. water, added 1 gal honey, and all the flavorings, and brought the temperature up; I figured I'd let the scum rise & skim it off, but not actually boil it. Didn't occur to me that a lot of the flavorings would float....

I skimmed off the scum (and most of the raisins & mace & lime), and pulled out about half the ginger (the more I thought about it, the more I began to doubt using so much...). Eventually, the scum slowed down; I cut the heat off, added the herb extract, and set it in the sink to cool (that was the weekend it was 50 below in Minnesota, so no ice was necessary ;)).

Because of the herbs, I kept the pot covered. In future batches, I'll just add the already-pasteurised extract to the pitching bucket & save myself the extra grief.

When the must had cooled to 95F, I poured it into the bucket, along with a half-gallon of ice water, snapped on the lid, and shook it hard for a while. Pulling the lid off, I dipped a test sample, and pitched the starter.

Original gravity is 1.1225 (!)

After repeating the shaking, I poured off into a 3-gal carboy. O gawd, it's filling up too fast - do I have another jug? Found a half-gallon jug, did a quickie sterilisation on it (difficult to do w/ crossed fingers), and gave it the rest. (Turns out I have almost *exactly* 3 gallons, but hey....)

Eighteen hours later, it's bubbling once every 10 seconds!

03/04/96 - After a month, it had slowed to once in 40 seconds, so yesterday afternoon, I poured the half-gallon into the carboy, added 3 yeast energiser tablets, and 2 teaspoons of yeast hulls. As of 19:52 today, it's bubbling every 7 seconds.