Sometimes happens you see a wonderful recipe but you have to adapt the ingredients prescribed by the recipe with the local ones. This is exactly what happened to us with this recipe.
I got the inspiration from an Italian newspaper, but at that moment we were sitting on Crete. Well why don’t try to adapt the recipe?
The original ingredients asked for “vin santo” (at least 16% alcohol) and sweet Marsala wine (15–20% alcohol), but what we had on hand was the Cretan Local wine form Chania called Romeiko (κρασι ρωμεικο). https://borvilag.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cretan-wines_greekstar_080212.pdf
Romeiko wine is can red, rose or white and mostly brownish. The grapes are harvest very ripe and so that the alcohol content is about 14 % or above after the fermentation. After that the ripe grapes have been picked, macerated for a few days (as longer as red and darker the wine) and finally racked into barrels to finish the fermentation with naturally occurring yeast as this are very tolerant to alcohol. The result is a dry, alcoholic and highly oxidized wine with light sherry taste with nuances of honey, nuts and dried fruits.
This wine is very appreciated by locals and also almost all families are preparing their homemade romeiko wine. We love this wine very much as well, but not so many “strangers” do, for this reasons as we ask for this one in restaurant a common answer is “are you sure? Do you like it?”
The characteristic of this wine suggested me to try to modify the recipe. What I needed was more sugar and the spices. For the alcohol percent I decided to add some local grappa called tzikoudia. http://www.sfakia-crete.com/sfakia-crete/raki.html
Vino Aromatico alla Greca – Greek Aromatic Wine
- 2 cup water
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cm cinnamon
- 2 cardamom pod, crushed
- 1 cloves
- 1/4 lemon zest only
- 1 cups tzikoudia (alternative Grappa), quantity to taste depending how strong you like it
- 1 cup romeiko wine (alternative Vin Santo, but eventually reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons)
- In a small pot combine water sugar spices and zest and bring to boil. Switch off the heat, cover and let cool down completely.
- Transfer to bottle, add tzikoudia and wine.
- Best let infuse for at least 1 week before serving.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature as dessert wine or for a lazy break.
Variation: serve and add some lemon juice with ice cubes.