With its ancient heritage, the word ‘mead’ used to conjure up images of carousing Vikings or drunken medieval revellers, but recent recipe innovations have contributed to the resurgence of what is considered by many to be an elixir of health, fertility and longevity.
A brief history of mead
Arguably the world’s first alcoholic drink, mead is created by fermenting honey with water and sometimes adding fruit, spices, grains or hops.
To give you an idea of just how long mead has been around, pottery vessels containing residues of a fermented mixture of honey, rice and other fruits dating from 6500-7000 BC were once found in Northern China and, during the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, mead was said to be the civilisation’s drink of choice. Aristotle (384–322 BC) discussed mead in his Meteorologica and elsewhere, while Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79) called mead ‘militites’ in his Naturalis Historia.
This so-called ‘nectar of the gods’ has long been rumoured to have aphrodisiac properties and was historically presented to newlyweds to enjoy during what we now call the ‘honeymoon’. In fact, because drinking mead was thought to ensure a fruitful union bearing plenty of children, a bride’s father traditionally included a month’s worth of mead in her dowry.
For the purists
While we can’t guarantee such bountiful results, we certainly like to think that our smooth and sumptuous meads will perk you up nevertheless!
Mead can have a wide range of flavours depending on the source of the honey, the additives used (including fruit and spices), the yeast employed during fermentation and the ageing procedure. Our award-winning meads are fermented, mixed and aged on site using our secret blends of honey to create the rich, floral and pungent characteristics for which they are famed.
If you are new to mead then a good place to start is with our Traditional Mead. A sweet, full-flavoured drink with rich, deep honey flavours and a moreish honeycomb finish, it is also a great accompaniment to strong cheeses and full-flavoured casseroles.
Over the centuries, taxation and regulations governing the ingredients of alcoholic beverages led to commercial mead becoming a more obscure beverage – until recently.
Here at Lyme Bay Winery, we’ve been perfecting our mead for over 15 years and, after a few recipe tweaks, we have now come up with some exciting new mead flavours that are proving very popular.
For those who like fiery flavours, our medium sweet Chilli Mead has the perfect balance of sweet honey with the spicy kick of chillies, which is sure to get your tongue tingling. Serve at room temperature and try with hard and strong cheeses, Bolognese and pizza.
If you prefer a spot of sparkle in your glass, meanwhile, our Jack Ratt Sparkling Mead is truly mead made modern. Handcrafted here at the Winery, it is officially a ‘short mead’ – lightly sparkling and just 4% ABV – and makes a refreshing alternative to beer and cider.
If all of this has whetted your appetite for mead, then why not treat yourself – or someone you know with a taste for trying something new – to our Mead Gift Box?
Our easy-to-wrap printed gift box contains the perfect pairing of our bestselling Traditional Mead and our equally delicious Tournament Mead. The latter is a dark and sweet mead, beautifully infused with a discreet hint of ginger, which is delicious served at room temperature with spicy food and strong cheeses or chilled with ice cream.
You need mead
Whether you are yet to try our meads or are already a die-hard fan, you can find out more about our range here.
If you’d like to place an order then we’d love to see you here at the Winery shop, so do pop in if you are passing. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with our friendly team via email at [email protected] or by calling us on 01297 551355 if you’d like to order by phone. You can also follow Lyme Bay on Twitter: @LBWdrinksltd and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.