April 17, 2020

A Need for Mead: A Guide to Buzzy Booze

Most people know about the traditional categories for alcohol: beer, wine, and hard liquor. And then you have sub-categories containing variants of each. But most people are often unaware of another category – mead. 

What is mead?

Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey. It’s often called honey wine but differs from wine since it is not made from fermented fruit the way wine is. It can have various fruits and spices added for additional flavor but that doesn’t make it wine. 

The beverage dates back thousands of years, having been discovered as far back as 3000 B.C. or even back to 7000 B.C. according to some sources. From the Chinese, Egyptians, and Romans, to the Greeks, Mayans, and Vikings, mead can be found almost everywhere throughout history. Some civilizations such as the ancient Greeks even believed that mead was the “nectar of the Gods”.

Traditional mead is made with three simple ingredients:

  • Honey
  • Water
  • Yeast

That’s it. That’s all that’s needed to make your own mead. But getting the perfect taste is where it becomes tricky.

Making Mead

Making simple mead may only require a few ingredients, but it’s a little more complex than just finding some honey and plugging it up in a bottle for a while. Depending on what kind of flavor you want your mead to have, you need to choose specific honey, as each type of honey produces a different flavored mead when fermented. Liquor.com states that “the honey used determines the overarching flavor of the mead, and can vary according to a honey bee’s particular diet of nectar and pollen.” 

You also need to decide if you’d like to flavor your mead with anything else, such blackberries, raspberries, and apples. Much like wine, mead can also be sweet, dry, sparkling, or still. It’s all dependent on how you make your mead.

This basic mead recipe from epicurious calls for: 

  • 12 to 18 pounds of grade-A honey
  • 4 1/2 gallons of tap or bottled water
  • 8 grams (1/4 ounce) of freeze-dried wine, champagne, or dedicated mead yeast

The process of making mead is similar to making home-brewed beer or wine and requires a basic fermentation kit. Making mead should only be done so by those 21 and older and who are legally allowed to purchase, make, or consume alcoholic beverages. 

The Process

First, bring your water to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, remove from heat and add honey, stirring until all honey is dissolved. While that is cooling, mix the yeast into a cup of lukewarm water and cover. Once the honey and water have cooled, mix all the ingredients in the fermentation bucket. Seal the bucket and let sit for 2 weeks to 1 month. Once the primary fermentation is over, siphon the mead into the secondary fermentation bucket. Seal and let sit 2-4 months to age. Once you decide it’s ready, siphon into bottles and cap.

While that may seem like a long time to wait, we promise it’s worth it. It’s not called the nectar of the Gods for no reason. In the meantime, check out Cork Bar & Restaurant. While we may not be open right now, we showcase some boozy creations that can be made from the comfort of your kitchen here.