Ratafia is a term used for two types of sweet alcoholic beverage, either a fruit-based beverage or a fortified wine. Traditionally in Europe, Ratafia was served during a celebration when treaties were ratified, hence the name "Ratafia".
The first type is a liqueur or cordial with many different varieties. A typical Ratafia is flavored with lemon peel and spices in various amounts (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, mint, rosemary, anise, etc.), typically combined with sugar. It may also be prepared with peach or cherry kernels, bitter almonds, or other in-season fruits. Other flavorings can be used, such as vegetables and fresh herbs. The liqueur is typical of the Mediterranean areas of Spain, Italy, and north-east of France (Champagne and Burgundy). In the south-central region of Italy (specifically Molise and Abruzzo). Ratafià is made exclusively with fresh cherries and Montepulciano Di Abruzzo wines.
The second type, Ratafia fortified wine, is a type of mistelle, a mixture of marc and the unfermented juice of the grape, and is the type produced in France. There are very few producers of Ratafia fortified wine, maybe as few as three. The fortified wine, one of which is made today in New Mexico by producer D.H. Lescombes, uses Moscato grapes fortified with brandy to stop the fermentation early, which keeps the residual sugar high. The resulting wine is rich and sweet.
A basic recipe includes a bottle of red or white wine, 1/4 cup (2 US fluid ounces, 59 mL) vodka to prevent fermentation, 1 cup (8 US fluid ounces, 240 mL) cut-up fruits, vegetables, or herbs, and 1/4 cup (2 ounces, 57 g) sugar. Combine all ingredients in a large jar and refrigerate 3 to 4 weeks. Strain into a clean wine bottle and cork or cap tightly. Keep refrigerated.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Ratafia.|
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