Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages, and it is made from fermented honey. Some claim that mead was the first alcoholic drink, predating wine and beer. The earliest evidence of mead production dates back to 7000 BC from pottery vessels in northern China. Historically, mead was something of a global beverage: it was consumed by Greek gods on Mt. Olympus, Vikings, and African bushmen.
Mead is the purest form of honey wine with no additional flavors other than the honey itself. Metheglyns are made with spices such as elderflower, vanilla, clovers, cinnamon, or ginger.
Hydromels are a non-alcoholic version of mead and can be simply honey and water, or mixed with fruits and spices.
How do I drink it? Hot or cold , never warm!
As a desert wine, mead is good served cold. Simply chill and pour . Mead compliments all meat and fowl courses, and most fish. A traditional way to serve mead is hot, in earthen mugs. This hearkens back to the belief in its serving in the old times, at medieval tables to banish the damp and chill of a rainy climate. There are several ways hot mead can be served, similar to hot cider.
Meads, Metheglyns and Fruit Melomels only get better with age. A good mead should wait until at least 2 years to be consumed. Melomels made with pitted fruits have a small window for the best taste. They are best enjoyed between 2-5 years old. I once had the pleasure of enjoying a 25 year aged raspberry melomel and it was pure bliss.
The honey I use is from a family run farm in Alberta. The bees pollinate the local fields and mostly feed off clover making a subtle flavor best for making flavored Methegyn’s and Melomels. All of the fruits that I use are from local organic farms around the Vancouver area.
The expression “Honeymoon” owes it’s origin to mead. During medieval times mead was part of the marriage ritual. After the wedding the bride and groom were provided enough mead to last one full moon. They were encouraged to consume this sweet wine to promote fertility and virility. It was also believed they would be assured of the birth of sons.