It is a well-established custom for Chinese people to drink chrysanthemum wine on the Double Ninth Festival. Chrysanthemum wine was regarded in ancient times as an auspicious wine that people must drink on the Double Ninth Festival to avoid misfortunes and pray for blessings.
As it can relieve internal heat, nourish the liver, improve eyesight and diminish inflammation, chrysanthemum wine is of high medicinal value. Li Shizhen, a medical scientist of the Ming Dynasty, pointed out that chrysanthemum could cure headache, improve hearing and eyesight, and treat various diseases.
In the past, chrysanthemum wine was brewed on the Double Ninth Festival for the next year. On that very day, people picked chrysanthemums that had just blossomed and some green leaves, mixed them with grains to brew wine for the next Double Ninth Festival. It is said that people drinking the wine will prolong their life. In terms of medical science, chrysanthemum wine can improve eyesight, cure dizziness, bring down blood pressure, replenish liver qi, soothe the stomach, promote blood circulation and contribute to weight loss. Apart from climbing a mountain and wearing cornel (a kind of flower), people usually drank chrysanthemum wine with their friends and relatives while appreciating chrysanthemums on the Double Ninth Festival. Poets improvised and chanted poems while enjoying the flowers and wine, leaving behind a lot of beautiful poems for later generations.
Double Ninth cake is also known as flower cake, chrysanthemum cake and five color cake. There is no fixed method of making it. It falls into three classes: crude flower cake, fine flower cake, and gold ingot-like flower cake. Double Ninth cakes are made not only for families, but also as a gift for relatives and friends and a treat for married daughters coming home. We may as well make Double Ninth cakes ourselves this Double Ninth Festival. It is very fun. The recipe is as follows.
Major ingredients: flour
Other ingredients: red and green fine long shreds (200g for each), and glutinous rice wine (200g)
Condiments: Sweetened bean paste (300g), white sugar (500g) and lard (200g).
First, put the flour into a basin, add warm water and the glutinous rice wine, mix them, and let it ferment; when honeycomb-like things appear, add white sugar (200g) and mix it together with chopsticks.
Second, dilute the sweetened bean paste with hot water, melt white sugar (300g) with hot water, and mince the red and green fine long shreds.
Third, spread the lard at the bottom of a steamer, spread 1/3 of the flour paste prepared in the first procedure at the bottom of a steamer, brush the top of the flour paste with melted white sugar and diluted bean paste; spread another 1/3 of the flour paste on the first 1/3, brush the top of it with melted white sugar and diluted bean paste; and spread the last 1/3, cover the steamer and steam it. After it is steamed, brush it with melted white sugar, and scatter the red and green shreds on the top. After it is cooler, cut it into angular shapes, and the Double Ninth cakes are done.