Julia's Wine Jelly

I first discovered wine jelly at a Twelfth Night celebration in the home of my then soon-to-be husband’s family in Richmond, Virginia. A lovely assortment of traditional Virginian party foods made a celebratory spread on the heirloom dining table.
By / Photography By Ashley Dru | July 03, 2015

Ingredients

  • 2 large packs unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (about ½ orange)
  • ¾ cup dry sherry
  • 3 ½ cups cold water
  • Freshly whipped cream, unsweetened (or lightly sweetened)

Instructions

Soak the gelatin in hot water for about 10 minutes.

Add sugar and whisk until dissolved. Add juices, sherry and cold water. Stir and allow to set in a large punch bowl or individual serving dishes. Chill for 4–5 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Serves 8–10

About this recipe

Letterpress printing is intricately connected with this recipe. Julia was my husband’s great-grandmother and the wife of George Gibson Worsham, who had brought the newly invented Linotype printing process to Richmond. He went on to found the Richmond News and the Richmond Press. He also inspired his son, John, to begin job printing and bought him his first job press, which we still use today. 
 
Wine jelly is a traditional Virginia delicacy and Julia’s recipe had been passed down to John’s wife, Margaret, who typed it up and added her own addition—a touch of orange juice, initialed M.C.W. on the recipe. The original card, currently in my mother-in-law’s care, has a nice patina of wine and lemon juice drops that only a well-used recipe can obtain. The original recipe is measured in teacups and pints and is reserved for the holidays, though I find it refreshing enough for a summertime barbecue or picnic.
 
A portrait of Julia hangs overlooking our own dining room table. She could probably be hung right over my printing press to watch me print more recipe cards to document the long line of family history that is passed down generationally, one recipe at a time.
 
You can find Worsham’s recipe cards and other printed goods online at TympanumPress.com or on her Etsy store, PonceALittleTime.

Ingredients

  • 2 large packs unflavored gelatin
  • ½ cup hot water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (about ½ orange)
  • ¾ cup dry sherry
  • 3 ½ cups cold water
  • Freshly whipped cream, unsweetened (or lightly sweetened)
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