Lilac Wine: did Nina make it up?

I made wine from the lilac tree

put my heart in it’s recipe

makes me see what I want to see

be what I want to be

The wonderfully sultry song ‘Lilac Wine’ was written by James Shelton in 1950 and covered by a variety of artists, but it will always be Nina Simone’s song to me.

This High Priestess of Soul longs for her love as she slowly drinks the sweet heavy lilac wine and grows more and more unsteady.

For many years I had assumed lilac wine was a made up thing – something heady and romantic that Nina liked to sing about. But did you know that there is in fact such a thing as lilac wine?

I managed to find a couple of old recipes for it but it’s basically made up of lilac flowers, sugar, water, lemons and champagne yeast.

The simpleness of the recipe makes me theorise that it has been around for as long as lilacs have bloomed: and in a city that’s in full bloom right now I’ve love to hear your stories, so drop me a comment.

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