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Claret Cup Recipe

When you indulge in this Claret Cup Recipe, just as the Roman and Celtic warriors drank borage-steeped wine for courage, it will chase away your worries and fears.

From "Wild Drinks and Cocktails"
May 2016

  • Pimm’s Cup, which also traditionally includes borage, may have originated as a variation of the claret cup.
    Photo by Emily Han
  • Using ingredients you can find in your backyard, on your farm or at a local market, you can create artisanal drinks that leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized. Learn a variety of useful techniques to do so in “Wild Drinks and Cocktails" by Emily Han.
    Cover courtesy Fair Winds Press

Yield: 1/2 Gallon

Craft drink expert Emily Han creates unique flavors in Wild Drinks and Cocktails(Fair Winds Press, 2015).  Han teaches you techniques you need to know to craft your own infused waters, syrups, vinegar drinks, spirits, wines and sodas — each with powerful health benefits and a sentimental nod to drinks of another era. In this excerpt you will learn the recipe for a claret cup which is a deep and floral cocktail.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: Wild Drinks and Cocktails.

“The leaves and floures of borage put into wine make men and women glad and merry and drive away all sadnesse, dulnesse and melancholy,” wrote sixteenth-century herbalist John Gerard. With its brilliant blue flowers and cucumber-like flavor, borage (Borago officinalis) has enhanced wine for centuries, even millennia. Roman and Celtic warriors drank borage-steeped wine for courage, while the Victorians used borage to garnish the claret cup, a popular punch made with red wine from Bordeaux plus various liqueurs, herbs, fruits, and spices. This is my version of a claret cup, and it’s inspired by recipes in historical cookbooks. The first delicious step involves creating a fragrant blend of lemon oil and sugar called oleo-saccharum, a classic technique for adding depth of flavor to punches.

Claret Cup Recipe


• Peel of 1 medium lemon, cut in wide strips
• 1⁄4 cup sugar
• 1 borage sprig, plus flowers for garnish
• 1⁄4 cup pale, dry sherry (such as fino)
• 1 bottle dry red wine (such as Bordeaux), chilled
• Ice cubes
• 1 bottle club soda, chilled


1.Combine the lemon peels and sugar in a bowl.

2. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle the lemon peels and sugar until the peels start to release their oils.

3. Let stand for 30 minutes.

4. Combine the lemon peel and sugar mixture in a clean pitcher with the borage sprig, sherry, and red wine.

5. Stir to combine.

6. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

7. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer.

8. Discard the solids.

To serve, pour into ice-filled glasses and top with club soda. Garnish with borage flowers.

Learn more about Wildcrafting for Gratifying Drinks and Cocktails.

Reprinted with permission from Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han and published by Fair Winds Press, 2015. Buy this book from our store: Wild Drinks and Cocktails.

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