Friday, December 27, 2013

Scottish recipes - Ginger Wine & Blackcurrant Cordial

Ginger wine or Ginger cordial

OK, who out there remembers drinking ginger wine or cordial as a youngster at Hogmanay in Scotland?

Do you remember how ginger wine burns your throat and almost feels like you really shouldn't be drinking it, like it shouldn't be doing that to you throat?

I remember it being so sweet and delicious and very festive

My sister and I would drink it with all our cousins at my grandparents house on New Year's Eve (Hogmanay in Scotland)

The house was full of Aunts and Uncles and cousins, and Great Aunts and Great Uncles and neighbours and friends. Great times and great memories

There would be wonderful treats to eat like cherry cake, black bun, fruit cake, and shortbread and a wee dram of whisky or the likes for the adults

But the real treat for us kids was the Ginger or Blackcurrant cordial

Ginger wine is not really wine, it's a non alcoholic cordial but it's strong and addictive or at least it seemed that way to me

So in Scotland at this time of year if you are quick enough (before they fly off the shelves) you can buy these little bottles of concentrate to make 6 pints of each flavor. The only shop to get them is the Co-op to my knowledge (what's that Co-op? my cheque is in the post?)

I was lucky enough to have my parents trek around the local Co-op 's to find these for me and then to mail them to me here in Texas (thanks Mum and Dad)

Ginger essence concentrate from the Co-op

I can't believe I am making a wonderful drink from my Scottish childhood here in Texas, watch out neighbours you will need to help me finish 12 pints of the stuff !!

I was really surprised, no not surprised, shocked, by how much sugar goes into making this stuff.
A dentists dream indeed, this will probably rot your teeth and probably cause a quick onset of diabetes but Oh-my-Goodness it's so good

You will need

3.5 lbs of sugar (oh yes you will)
6 pints of cold water
1 bottle of ginger wine concentrate

I just followed the instructions on the label, easy.....

  • Put sugar and water in a large pot and bring to boil, simmer until sugar is dissolved

Sugar and water

  • Take off heat and allow to cool completely

  • Once cooled, add concentrate and mix well (do not, and I repeat, do not be tempted to taste the concentrate - a warning from the label and my Dad)

  • Bottle, refrigerate and enjoy

I used a mixture of bottles I had, from screw top wine bottles, to decorative bottles, even mason jars would be cute to store your 6 pints of Ginger wine (and have a party and invite kids to try it out) Or better still do what I did and give out the bottles as Christmas gifts to unsuspecting neighbours who are thinking I am giving them Scottish moonshine (love you neighbours)

So I probably haven't had ginger wine since I was around 11 or 12 and my memory of this great stuff was correct. It didn't disappoint. Ginger wine is still on my list as one of the most thrilling drinks I have ever had

Now excuse me while I go and polish off the bottle of ginger wine calling my name and sit in my nostalgic haze of childhood bliss

Happy Hogmanay to my Scottish friends and Happy New Year to everyone else


Ginger wine or Ginger cordial



  1. Arlene Greig (Lister)December 30, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Hi Angela after seeing your post it prompted me to go and get some (CO-OP in Rosyth). Have made this tonight but think it is a lot sweeter and doesn,t burn you throat as much but still the closest I have tasted to 1 of the happy memories I have of my mum like you it was made at new year for the kids . Arlene x

    1. Love this, so glad you managed to get some of the concentrate, its good eh? I didn't use all 3.5lbs of sugar I only used 3lbs thinking it might be too sweet, and I think thats maybe why my ginger wine is super nippy, lol Did the kids try it, did they like it? My son doesn't like it, his face was priceless

  2. PLEASE ... can anyone out there help to to find some ( Coop ) Yulade Blackcurrant Wine cordial to buy. I am now located in Vancouver, Canada and have searched the web endlessly and have friends in Scotland going mad trying to find me some to send over. I just have to have it as it now a part of my bucket list ....

    1. Anonymous, for sure your friends in Scotland will be able to get some when the season comes around again. Tell them to hang on until around October and start looking. Unfortunately they only sell the ginger and the blackcurrant cordial essence at Christmas time, and it really does fly off the shelf fast.

    2. I swa somewhere that you can get it on ebay!

    3. best cordial on the planet lush mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. In Scotland you can buy it from the Chemists. I believe they are called Pharmacists these days but the earlier post is correct. It doesn't burn your throat like it used to.

  4. Some people sell Yu-lade on Ebay. I've lived in England for years and that's the only way I get my long lamented Scottish ginger concentrate.

    It DOES use far too much sugar. I find it tastes better with less, about 2lbs should do it. (And I heat mine up afterwards so's it's both hot AND nippy-burny on the throat! Marvellous for colds and sore throats.)

    1. Do you use less water with 2lbs of sugar please ?

  5. just going out to the co op tomorrow to get the ginger essence going to try and make it myself still remember it burning my throat when I was young but still went back for more. brings back good memories thanks for the recipe I just couldn't
    remember how my mum used to make it

  6. Use only half the sugar, much more palatable.

  7. My ex mother in law used to mix the ginger and black currant to make her wine but i cant remember the quantities, does anyone have a recipe for this?

  8. Where can I buy the Ginger Wine Concentrate in America? We live over here, and would love to have some of that again.

  9. I have bottles for sale

  10. A genuine Scottish person here, make this every year as a wee extra gift for the older family members, goes well with whiskey, if your that way inclined!

    Nice to see the tradition being continued in the USA. It always reminds me of Christmas with my gran and grandad, hiding at the bottom of the stairs listening to uncle Jimmy play the bagpipes, late at night, while the adults get pissed (drunk).

  11. Great drink enjoyed by all can you please let me know where I can buy the ginger wine essences

  12. Don't forget UK pint = 20 FL. Oz, not 16 as in US.

  13. My mum used ginger and also blackcurrant essence together it was delicious.


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