Oxymel: The Other Vinegar Drink
January 11, 2017
I've reported on shrubs (vinegar-based fruit syrups) for years, and only a couple years ago learned about switchels. Now I've just learned about Oxymel.
A while back I posted on the difference between a shrub and a switchel, thanks to Brandon Wise of Imperial in Portland, OR.
Recently, Humberto Marques, Owner/manager of Curfew Cocktail Bar in Copenhagen, sent me a recipe with oxymel in it. I needed to know more.
A quick internet search reveals this definition from Emily Han, author of the book Wild Drinks & Cocktails: Handcrafted Squashes, Shrubs, Switchels, Tonics, and Infusions to Mix at Home:
DRINKING VINEGARS AT A GLANCE:
• SHRUB = VINEGAR + SWEETENER + FRUIT … AND SOMETIMES HERBS AND SPICES
• SWITCHEL = VINEGAR + SWEETENER + GINGER … AND SOMETIMES RUM
• OXYMEL = VINEGAR + HONEY + HERBS
Darcy O'Neil also has a good post about oxymel and other vinegar drinks.
Marques repeated some info he posted at Liquor.com here, plus shared a recipe.
Here is is:
Scarborough Fair by Simon & Garfunkel (by Humberto Marques of Curfew Cocktail Bar)
3cl Parsley, sage , rosemary and thyme Oxymel
5cl Tanqueray gin
3cl apple& rosehip marmalade
4cl lemon juice
Shake all the ingredients and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish: hazelnut powder floating
Herbs oxymel- 1 liter
in a blender:
2- sprig of parsley, sage , rosemary and thyme
1 litter of acacia honey
280ml apple cider vinegar
Liquidise in the blender , strain and filter , keep refrigerated.
Just for clarification: is "1litter" of honey the same as "1liter" (i.e. almost four times as much honey as vinegar)? If so, it sounds like oxymel is more honey+vinegar than the other way around.
Posted by: SSteve | January 18, 2017 at 05:03 AM
Humberto confirmed the proportions. Shrubs and oxymel (and maybe not switchels) refer to both the syrups and the finished drinks with soda water. So this recipe is for a really really rich honey-vinegar syrup.
Posted by: Camper English | January 18, 2017 at 06:52 PM
Hi dear @SSteven and Camper!
I work for Humberto at Curfew and to clarify, after really long researches we found out that there were a lot of different racios regarding the different purposes of the oxymel. In the very beginning as they were used mainly with a medicinal porpuse to prescrive really bitter roots and herbs, impossible to bear the flavour by themselves, doctors prescrived essentialy in racios 1:1 of both sweetener(raw honey) and acid(vinegar). Ahead from that and due to changes on the human palate for a "sweeter tooth" we found different racios in between 3:1 and 4:1. After experiments we concluded that for culinary porpuses this 2 last racios are the most balanced ones regarding the grade
of bitterness and power of the flavours you're using.
Eg: We tried to do basil oxymel as experiment. Racio 1:1 was unbearable.
Racio 3:1 was ok but still too powerfull and acid to mix with other ingredients.
Racio 4:1 was the one we found to be the most balanced and that created a sweet & sour mix here all the agents (aromatic, sweetener & sour/tart) would be recognizable and work in harmony together.
Eg2: We made then the same experiment with Thai Basil, not as powerful in flavour and sharpness as the regular Basil, and with some more aromatic, sweet and gentle notes.
Racio 1:1 again impossible to bear the acidity that overtakes all the other agents.
Racio 3:1 perfect balance between agents (aromatic, sweetener & sour/tart) bringing the aromatics from the thai basil, complemented with the acidity of the vinegar.
Racio 4:1 This racio bringed over sweet notes. Having in consideration that the Thai basil doesn't have the same power and sharpness in flavour as the regular basil, this racio allowed the sweetner to take over and the honey notes overpowered the aromatics and sour/tart agents.
Antonio Saldanha de Oliveira
Posted by: Antonio Saldanha de Oliveira | January 23, 2017 at 03:33 PM
Posted by: Camper English | January 24, 2017 at 08:31 AM
Being a student of Greek medicine...I always liked the idea of herbal drinks..and would like to be guided , how can we start manufacturing medicinal oxymel..
I have access to a few old recipes...want to try them out. with some experienced person..
Author of book series..The complete guide to Unani Herbalism
Posted by: Zara shaikh | January 23, 2022 at 03:00 AM