Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A cordial made from wine and flavored with spices, formerly used as a medicine.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A cordial made of spiced wine, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A cordial made of spiced wine, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An old medicinal drink composed of wine with an infusion of spices and other ingredients, used as a cordial. Also hippocrass.

Etymologies

Middle English ipocras, from Old French ypocras, hypocras, from alteration of Hippocras, Hippocrates.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French ipocras, ypocras ("Hippocrates"), after Medieval Latin vinum Hippocraticum ("Hippocrates's wine") (because it was filtered through a Hippocrates sleeve). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Eat this slice of marchpane, it will help your digestion; then shall you be presented with a cup of claret hippocras, which is right healthful and stomachal.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

  • Heyford, tell thy comely wife that I and Hastings will sup with her to-morrow, for her hippocras is a rare dainty.

    The Last of the Barons — Volume 06

  • Illustrations in medieval health handbooks often depict people buying spiced wine (hippocras), which being classed as drying and heating was considered a tasty and convenient remedy for a cool or wet affliction, or merely as a safeguard against the perils of the cold and wet winter: not unlike a vaccination.

    A Conversation with Jack Turner

  • To make hippocras: Take a gallon of claret of white wine, and put therein four ounces of ginger, an ounce and a half of nutmegs, of cloves one quarter, of sugar four pound; let all this stand together in a pot at least twelve hours, then take it, and put it into a clean bag made for the purpose, so that the wine may come with good leisure from the spices.

    hippocras « paper fruit

  • Every weekend the couple and their friends -- who call themselves the Gentsche Ghesellen, or Ghent companions -- sleep in windowless tent encampments where they build benches from branches, bake bread, sing religious tributes to the Virgin Mary and drink hippocras, a 14th-century wine drink spiced with ginger, cloves and pepper.

    Medieval re-enacting in Belgium

  • Lord Mountclere warmed from surface to centre as if he had drunk of hippocras, and, after holding her hand for some moments, raised it gently to his lips.

    The Hand of Ethelberta

  • On special occasions, in the middle ages, after the dessert, hippocras was served, as they have liqueurs to this day on the Continent both after dinner and after the mid-day breakfast.

    Old Cookery Books and Ancient Cuisine

  • And I found them a lazy-person's hippocras recipe that can be made with locally-available spices.

    Even in a little thing

  • Thither he caused to be brought store of mirobolans, cashou, green ginger preserved, with plenty of hippocras, and delicious wine.

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

  • Which being done, they give him lampreys with hippocras sauce:

    Five books of the lives, heroic deeds and sayings of Gargantua and his son Pantagruel

Comments

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  • One variation/mispronunciation is whippincrust.

    June 7, 2010

  • "Red hippocras was made of claret, brandy, sugar, spices, almonds, and new milk."
    —Sarah Hand Meacham, Every Home a Distillery: Alcohol, Gender, and Technology in the Colonial Chesapeake (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009), 11

    June 7, 2010

  • A beverage composed of wine, with spices ans sugar, strained through a cloth. It is said to have taken its name from Hippocrates' sleeve, the term apothecaries gave to a strainer. 'Ipocras" seems to have been a great favourite with our ancestors, being served up at every entertainment, public or private. it generally made a part of the last course, and was taken immediately after dinner with wafers of some other light biscuits.
    According to Pegge, it was in use at St. John's College, Cambridge, as late as the eighteenth century, and brought in at Christmas at the close of dinner.
    James Halliwell, Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, 1855

    February 4, 2009