Mincemeat is a mixture of chopped dried fruit, distilled spirits and spices, and sometimes beef suet, beef, or venison. Originally, mincemeat always contained meat. Many modern recipes contain beef suet, though vegetable shortening is sometimes used in its place. Variants of mincemeat are found in Australia, Brittany, Canada, northern Europe, the Ireland, the UK and the United States. In some countries the term mincemeat refers to minced or ground meat.English recipes from the 15th, 16th, and 17th century describe a mixture of meat and fruit used as a pie filling. These early recipes included vinegars and wines, but by the 18th century distilled spirits, frequently brandy, were being used instead. The use of spices like clove, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon was common in late medieval and renaissance meat dishes. The increase of sweetness from added sugars, and those produced from fermentation, made mincemeat less a savoury dinner course and helped to direct its use toward desserts.