Conditum Paradoxum (Konditon)

"Conditum Paradoxum is an ancient Roman honey spiced wine. This recipe is based on the ancient Roman cookbook Apicius 1.1, with minor modifications by me. This wine is kosher for Passover, and was used by the Jews of the Land of Israel during the Passover Seder for the 4 cups, as mentioned in the Jerusalem Talmud, Pesachim 10:1, and can be used as an authentic wine during the Passover Seder today."
photo by Eli Gurevich photo by Eli Gurevich
photo by Eli Gurevich
photo by Eli Gurevich photo by Eli Gurevich
Ready In:
1 bottle




  • Measure out the spices: Black Pepper Corns, Mastic Gum, Bay Leaf and Saffron using a small precision digital scale. The scale should be able to measure in increments of at least 0.01 grams. Place each spice into a separate bowl.
  • Place the Mastic Gum in the freezer for 1 hour before grinding so that it hardens. Grind each spice separately using mortar and pestle. Keep grinding until you obtain coarse powder, similar in consistency to ground black pepper sold in stores. You can use already pre-ground spices, however the flavor infusion of the spices will not be as pronounced as freshly ground ones.
  • Measure out Liquid Honey using a glass measuring cup. You should choose a type of honey that you know you like. In my recipe I have used Nature Nate's 100% Raw & Unfiltered Honey.
  • Measure out 70 ml of Wine. For this recipe, you should chose a wine that you know you like. It does not matter if the wine has a high alcohol content (11-14%) or low alcohol content (5-10%), or is sparkling or not. In my recipe, I have used Italian Sparkling Rosa Regale Banfi Wine (7%).
  • Combine all of the honey and the measured wine into a sauce pan. Cook the honey and wine mixture on very low heat, while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. The heat should be just high enough so that the mixture begins to boil and bubbling with small bubbles after about 10 minutes being on the fire. Once the mixture starts boiling immediately remove from the fire and let it cool down until the bubbling stops. Then return back to the fire for about another 10 minutes and then remove again after boiling. This procedure of bringing to a boil and cooling should be repeated 3 times. After the 3rd time a white residue will start forming on top of the mixture. Once the white residue forms the reduction is complete. Remove it from the fire and let it completely cool for about 15 minutes. You will notice that the mixture will start to solidify back to the thick consistency of honey.
  • While the mixture is cooling measure out 670 ml into a glass bowl.
  • Once the honey wine mixture has cooled return it back to the fire for 2-3 minutes so that it liquefies again and becomes runny. It is not necessary to bring it to a boil at this point.
  • Pour the honey-wine mixture from the sauce pan into the glass bowl with 670 ml of wine. Add all spices to the bowl and begin slowly and steady stirring the mixture with a clean wooden spoon. Stir for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture is mixed throughout. The mixing of hot honey-wine mixture with the room temperature wine and spices is what allows all of the spices to infuse their flavor into the wine, so make sure you keep mixing it for at least 5 minutes.
  • Take a single sheet of coffee filter paper, place it on top of a metal mesh strainer and place the strainer on top of a bowl.
  • Slowly pour the final mixture into the filter. Allow the wine to drip filter through the filter into the bowl. The coffee filter should remove all particles from the mixture and only clear wine should remain. If the first filtering does not result in clear wine, repeat the filtering process again using a clean bowl and a clean coffee filter. The filtering process may take up to 1 hour depending on the quantity of wine and the thickness and size of the coffee filter.
  • Once the wine has been filtered pour it into a glass bottle and serve.
  • The flavor of the wine will be at first sweet with a strong flavor of honey, and then you will get a good kick of peppery spices at the end. Enjoy.
  • Please note that I have modified this recipe from the original recipe that appears in Apicius 1.1. I removed the date mash and the date pits from the ingredients list, because they were causing the wine to be overly too sweet. I used a coffee filter for filtering the wine instead of charcoal, for convenience. Charcoal will remove more spicy flavor from the wine. I might post another version with the charcoal later and report on how the flavor has changed. And I have mixed honey wine mixture with the spices right after cooking the mixture while it was hot, instead of letting it sit for 24 hours and mixing it cold. It seems that mixing them cold does not really work, because the honey wine mixture becomes too thick and does not mix well. The flavor was good without adding extra 24 hours to the process, so I decided the wait was not necessary.

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Eli Gurevich is a mechanical engineer at Intel Corporation, as well as an independent researcher on Ancient Judaic Studies, specializing in Talmudic literature as well as Biblical History and Historiography. He is the author of "Tosefta Berachot: Translated into English with a Commentary", as well as many other articles. Eli enjoys recreating ancient recipes that are related to Jewish History during the Biblical, Greek and Roman periods.
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