Forget Champagne, Prosecco and Merlot, you can actually make your own delicious wine out of oak leaves! Yes, you read that correctly, oak leaves! Okay, so champagne cocktails and tipples are pretty fantastic but I’m sure you can squeeze some room into your wine drinking pallet for this little gem of a drink!
Where Did Oak Leaf Wine Come From?
One of the fondest memories I have growing up is of my grandmother and me collecting huge bags of oak leaves from the fields and hills around our tiny little Welsh village – it became a seasoned past time that I even think my great grandmother did. Passed down for a good few centuries (maybe even longer – I’m sure my grandparents probably forgot how long this recipe has been around for after drinking so much of this delicious ‘nectar’), this is an old-fashioned drink that really does stand the test of time.
I found my grandmother’s recipe for this in one of her old notebooks that she used to write down her foodie masterpieces although she had quite a few torn out pages and scribbled out text so I’m guessing her cooking prowess went through my iterations and disasters along the way. 😉
This particular recipe she called ‘Gwin Dail Derw‘ (in Welsh), which translates to ‘deliciously moorish, must make now and party like its 1999 wine’ to enjoy! 🙂 Okay, not quite a literal translation but it does mean oak leaf wine 🙂
Unlike lots of other wines, Oak leaf wine doesn’t need a fermentation time of longer that 16 days, making this a very quick process in wine terms! Preparation time and bottling will only take a mere 40 minutes or so and standing time can be as little as 90 days.
Preparation: What Do I Need To Make Oak Leaf Wine?
To create a crate of 6 bottles of wine, you will need:
2 x brown paper bags of cleaned, washed oak leaves that have been gathered from the tree.
1 x regular sized piece of fresh ginger
2kg x of white sugar (or 1.5kg) if you prefer your wine more dry
500g x chopped raisins
15g x yeast
Method: Delicious Oak Leaf Wine
- Firstly, grab your cleaned oak leaves in a ovenware dish that is big enough for one whole bag.
- Once the leaves are inside, boil some water and pour over the top. Make sure there’s enough water to full submerge all the leafs.
- Soak the leaves inside the water for 5 days, then strain off the liquid through a muslin cloth or sieve.
- Once the liquid is separated from the leaves, reheat and boil the liquid, adding in your ginger root and desired sugar amount.
- After 30 minutes of boiling, remove from heat and add your chopped raisins and yeast.
- Completely cover the liquid and allow to ferment for 16 days.
- Once fermented, strain the liquid from the raisins and ginger and bottle.
When serving, add a slice of lemon and dried oak leaf to season. In the baking hot sun it becomes a smooth refreshing drink. In the winter, you can heat and boil your oak leaf wine for a more seasonal treat. Yum!
How Long Does It Need To Be Bottled?
The wine can then sit in a cool, dry place for 3 months or so, but the longer you ‘leaf’ your wine bottled, the better the taste… or so my grandmother thought!