Often mocked for its association with beard-cultivating, battle reenactment types, mead has experienced a resurgence of popularity in recent years.
Its origins go way back, but the Welsh (know for their excellence in drinking) claim it to be their tipple of choice since the Romans first herded bees across the Severn Bridge way back in 47 A.D.*
Mead comes in a variety of styles; but we chose to ferment a good, honest everyday mead i.e. the easiest possible one to make.
The only drawback with mead-makng is that honey can be quite expensive. We opted for the cheapest supermarket variety (presumably sourced from battery farmed bees in cramped hives) but if at all possible, you should try and source your own local honey from free range bees for a better quality drink.
How to make an easy mead.
Add approx 3lb of honey (three medium-sized jars) to a litre of water and warm carefully on your stove until dissolved. Its important not to over do it on the heating, as hot honey burns like napalm.
When your mixture has cooled sufficiently, pour into a clean demijohn and top up with water.
Add a chopped apple, the juice of a zesty lemon and a small handful of raisins, then add 1 teaspoonful of yeast and give it a shake.
Fit a bung and airlock, then leave in a warm place.
It should take around two months to clear, after which you should syphon into clean bottles and cork.
It is said that mead is at its best after SEVEN YEARS of maturing, but we have neither the time nor patience to test this theory. Going by our experiments in Cyser** we suggest cracking open a bottle after a year of maturing. Our motto is; if it tastes good, drink it!
A word of warning: Too much mead imbibing will give you HORRENDOUS hangovers. Whilst not on the scale of the infamous ‘Denmark hangover of 1998’ which resulted in a nameless Thirsty Gardener spending three hours curled around a toilet cistern in a Copenhagen railway station, mead hangovers are pretty unforgiving. Go easy.
* Note to editor: This fact needs checking. Not sure about the bees bit. Ask Wikipedia.
** Cider, fermented with the addition of honey
For more great recipes…
We’ve got more mead recipes in our book Brew it Yourself. If you’re a booze ‘n’ honey fan you’ll also find a recipe for honey ale. If you’re a booze fan in general then there’s loads of stuff to interest you. Available now on Amazon.