Dictionary of Traded Goods and Commodities, 1550-1820. Originally published by University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, 2007.
This free content was born digital. All rights reserved.
The meaning of this term is unknown, but the prefix DIA suggests a medicinal product. Blount gave the meaning of 'Palatical' as 'pertaining to, or that pleaseth the palate' [Blount (1656, facs 1972)]. If this is a possible linkage, then syrup palatina could have been no more than a pleasant SYRUP, presumably to be used as the base to which active ingredients could be added.
The prefix DIA indicates a medicinal preparation, as does the context of the only example of syrup diaserios in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1665)]. Beyond this no further information has been found to the meaning of the term.
Syrup ex althaea
Syrup of alkermes
Syrup of almonds
It was said to be a medicinal preparation made from SYRUP flavoured with ALMOND, but it was not one of the syrups authorized in the mid-eighteenth century London Dispensatory. This commodity has been noted only once in the Dictionary Archive, when it was described as one of those 'refreshing drinks such as you find in Switzerland' that the Swiss visitor Saussaure found 'almost unknown in England.' [Diaries (Saussure)].
Syrup of ginger
A SYRUP flavoured with GINGER, probably most often GREEN GINGER. Syrup of Ginger was a preparation found in the Pharmacopoeia. It was made by steeping four OUNCE of sliced ginger in three PINT of boiling water. After some hours it could be strained and 'the proper quantity' of DOULBE REFINED SUGAR added [Pemberton (1746)].
Syrup of orange peel
A medicinal product found in the Pharmacopoeia under the Latin name of Syruspus e corticibus aurantiorum. The official recipe soaked the PEEL of the SEVILLE ORANGE, and then used the liquor to dissolve DOUBLE REFINED SUGAR [Pemberton (1746)].
Syrup of peony
Pechey claimed that the SYRUP of PEONY was 'much in use' [Pechey (1694a)], but it has only been found in one document in the Dictionary Archive [Inventories (1690)], in both the SIMPLE and the COMPOUND form. Other documents list syrups in plenty but only infrequently gave the herbal component.
Syrup of stechados
Syrup of vinegar
A SYRUP found among stocks of APOTHECARY in the earlier part of the period. There are at least three possible meanings. It may have been no more than a VINEGAR made from SUGAR, but was more likely to have been similar to, or identical with, OXYMEL, which was a vinegar boiled up with HONEY. Possibly the alternative term of syrup of vinegar was used when the sweetener was SUGAR. John Evelyn described making 'a syrup of sharp white-wine vinegar, sugar, and a little water' in which to boil the seed pods of the ASH tree [Recipes (Evelyn)].
A third possible meaning is for the product later called concentrated vinegar. For this vinegar was cooled until crystals formed. The remaining liquid was poured off and the crystals allowed to melt, which would occur at roughly room temperature [Lowry and Cavell (1944)]. The result was of a thick, syrupy consistency. Tomlinson referred to this process, but mistakenly reversed it [Tomlinson (1854)].
Syrup of violets
A preparation made from SYRUP and flavoured with the flowers of the VIOLET. Making a syrup of the flowers was probably the most common way of preserving them for use throughout the year, so that it is found in most shops selling APOTHECARY. Since it was believed to have some medicinal properties it may often be noted expressed wholly or partially in Latin as in 'Sir' vyolaru' 1 li di' [Inventories (1624)], and/or heavily abbreviated as in 'S violaru' [Inventories (1573)]. John Houghton indicated that syrup of violets retained the blue colour of its flowers, as well as pointing to a possible adulterant in NEPHRITIC WOOD [Houghton]. Whether it was ever used for this purpose, is not known.
It is apparent, judging from valuations, that the quality of this syrup varied, being costed from 2s LB or less [Inventories (1634)], to double that [Inventories (1665)]. This may be explained by the two recipes given in an anonymous Book of Simples. In the first, the violet flowers were infused in boiling water. The liquor was then strained, the sugar added and the whole reheated only sufficiently to dissolve the sugar. In the second, no water was added, but a thick syrup was obtained by gradually heating alternate layers of the flowers and the sugar [Anon (1908)]. A late edition of Nicholas Culpeper's English Physician' concluded that the syrup 'is of the most use, and of better effect, being taken in some convenient liquor; and if a little juice or syrup of lemons be put to it, or a few drops of the oil of vitriol, it is made thereby the more powerful to cool the heat, and quench the thirst, and giveth to the drink a claret wine colour, and a fine tart relish pleasing the taste' [Culpeper (1792)]. A recipe for syrup of violets was still included in the London Dispensatory of 1746, but it was probably used by then primarily to mask the taste of unpleasant medicines [Pemberton (1746)]. It is the only product of violets still included by that date.