Brewing 101 Part 6: Syrups and Sekanjubins

From the class notes for Brewing 101, taught in Fall 2008, to people interested in an historical context: Europe before 1600.

Syrups and Sekanjubins

“Sakanjubins and Oxymels comprise a class of compounds whose most general characteristics are a heavily sweetened vinegar combined with any of a wide variety of herbs, spices, or other tonic and/or flavoring agents. The two terms are synonymous; “oxymel” is Greek and means “acid-honey”. “Sakanjubin” is an Arabic transcription of a Farsi (Persian) term, “sirka-anjubin”, and means exactly the same thing; “honeyed vinegar”. There is no standard sakanjubin, it is more in the nature of a principle, from which a great many variations can be derived. In it’s origins, it was (and remains to certain degree) a medicine, a tonic water mixed for a wide number of usages. “ (from a good SCA website on syrups and sekanjubins, http://web.raex.com/~obsidian/Sakanjubin.html).

The biggest mistake people make is to use non-period ingredients and seasonings.  For example, one often sees sekanjubin with mint, but mint is not documented in any period recipe.  And of course, check your recipes to make sure your period ingredient isn’t actually poisonous.

Class:  Lady Reyne Telarius sometimes teaches a class on syrups and sekanjubins.

Period recipe sources:

Friedman, David, and Elizabeth Cook. Cariadoc’s Miscellany. Privately published 1992.

Levey, Martin and Noury al-Khaledy. The Medical Formulary of Al-Samarqandi.Philadelphia,Univ. ofPennsylvania Press, 1967. A translation of a medical formulary written in the early 13th century CE, which devotes a chapter to sakanjubins, syrups, and the like.

 

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