If the word ‘mead’ conjures up images of carousing Vikings or drunken medieval revellers then it might be time for a rethink. Considered by many an elixir of health, fertility and longevity, this so-called ‘nectar of the gods’ is having a very 21st century revival.
Here’s the lowdown on one of the world’s oldest alcoholic beverages…
1. 3 Staple Ingredients
Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruit, spices, grains or hops. The terms ‘mead’ and ‘honey-wine’ are often used synonymously, but honey-wine is differentiated from mead in some cultures.
2. Ancient Drink of Wisdom
In Asia, pottery vessels containing residues of a mixture of honey, rice and other fruits along with organic compounds of fermentation dating from 6500-7000BC were found in Northern China. During the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, mead was said to be the preferred drink. Aristotle (384–322BC) discussed mead in his Meteorologica and elsewhere, while Pliny the Elder (AD23–79) called mead militites in his Naturalis Historia.
3. Mead Revival
Over the centuries, taxation and regulations governing the ingredients of alcoholic beverages led to commercial mead becoming a more obscure beverage until recently. Some monasteries kept up the old traditions of mead-making as a by-product of beekeeping, especially in areas where grapes could not be grown – and here at Lyme Bay Winery we’ve been perfecting our award-winning meads for over 15 years.
4. The Original Aphrodisiac
Mead has long been rumoured to have aphrodisiac properties and was historically presented to newlyweds to enjoy during what we now call their honeymoon. In fact, because drinking mead was thought to ensure a fruitful union bearing plenty of children, a bride’s father included a month’s worth of mead in her dowry. While we can’t guarantee such results, we certainly like to think that our smooth and sumptuous meads will perk you up.
5. Spectrum of Flavours
Mead can have a wide range of flavours depending on the source of the honey, additives (also known as ‘adjuncts’ or ‘gruit’) including fruit and spices, the yeast employed during fermentation and the aging procedure. Our prize-winning meads are fermented, blended and aged on site using our secret blends of honey to create the rich, floral and pungent characteristics for which mead is famed.
If all of this has whet your appetite for our mead then we’d love to see you here at the Winery shop if you’d like to give it a try. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with our lovely team here at the Winery via email at [email protected] or by calling 01297 551355 if you’d like to place an order.