“If it’s good for ancient Druids, runnin’ nekkid through the wuids, drinkin’ strange fermented fluids, it’s good enough for me!”- Pete Seeger
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Mead is sometimes called Honey Wine, but it is no more a wine than beer
is. It is also known as "Ambrosia" and "Nectar of the Gods".
Mead is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by
fermenting a solution of honey and water. Depending on local traditions and
specific recipes, it may be flavored with spices, fruit, or hops. The alcoholic
content of mead may range from about 8% to 18% ABV. It may be still,
carbonated, or sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Mead is known
from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia,
although archaeological evidence of it is ambiguous. Its origins are lost in
prehistory. "It can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented
drinks," Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, "antedating the
cultivation of the soil."
The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of
mead dates to around 7000 BC. Pottery vessels containing a mixture of mead,
rice and other fruits along with organic compounds of fermentation were found
in Northern China. In Europe, it is first attested in residual samples found in
the characteristic ceramics of the Bell Beaker Culture (ca. 2400 – 1800 BC).
The earliest surviving description of mead is in the hymns
of the Rigveda, one of the sacred books of the historical Vedic religion and
Hinduism dated around 1700–1100 BC. During the Golden Age of Ancient Greece,
mead was said to be the preferred drink. 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 and differentiated wine sweetened with honey or
"honey-wine" from mead.
To find out more about Mead check out this article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead.
* Acerglyn — A mead made with honey and maple syrup.
* Balche — A Native Mexican version of mead.
* Bochet/Brochet — A mead where the honey is caramelized or burnt separately before adding the water. Gives toffee, chocolate, marshmallow flavors.
* Braggot — Also called bracket or brackett. Originally brewed with honey and hops, later with honey and malt — with or without hops added. Welsh origin (bragawd).
* Black mead — A name sometimes given to the blend of honey and blackcurrants.
* Capsicumel — A mead flavored with chili peppers.
* Chouchenn — A kind of mead made in Brittany.
* Cyser — A blend of honey and apple juice fermented together; see also cider.
* Czwórniak (TSG) — A Polish mead, made using three units of water for each unit of honey
* Dandaghare — A mead from Nepal, combines honey with Himalayan herbs and spices. It has been brewed since 1972 in the city of Pokhara.
* Dwójniak(TSG) — A Polish mead, made using equal amounts of water and honey
* Great mead — Any mead that is intended to be aged several years. The designation is meant to distinguish this type of mead from "short mead" (see below).
* Gverc or Medovina — Croatian mead prepared in Samobor and many other places. The word “gverc” or “gvirc” is from the German "Gewürze" and refers to various spices added to mead.
* Hydromel — Hydromel literally means "water-honey" in Greek. It is also the French name for mead. (Compare with the Catalan hidromel and aiguamel, Galician and Portuguese hidromel, Italian idromele and Spanish hidromiel and aquamiel). It is also used as a name for a very light or low-alcohol mead.
* Medica — Slovenian, Croatian, variety of Mead.
* Medovina — Czech, Serbian, Bulgarian, Bosnian and Slovak for mead. Commercially available in Czech Republic, Slovakia and presumably other Central and Eastern European countries.
* Medovukha — Eastern Slavic variant (honey-based fermented drink).
* Myod — Traditional Russian mead, historically available in three major varieties: aged mead ("мёд ставленный") — a mixture of honey and water and/or berry juices, subject to a very slow (12–50 years) anaerobic fermentation in airtight vessels in a process similar to the traditional balsamic vinegar, similarly creating very rich and complex, much praised, but extremely expensive product; drinking mead ("мёд питный") — a kind of honey wine made from diluted honey by traditional fermentation; and boiled mead ("мёд варёный") — a drink closer to beer, brewed from boiled wort of diluted honey and herbs, very similar to modern medovukha.
* Melomel — Melomel is made from honey and any fruit. Depending on the fruit-base used, certain melomels may also be known by more specific names (see cyser, pyment, morat for examples).
* Metheglin — Metheglin starts with traditional mead but has herbs and/or spices added. Some of the most common metheglins are ginger, tea, orange peel, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, cloves or vanilla. Its name indicates that many metheglins were originally employed as folk medicines. The Welsh word for mead is medd, and the word "metheglin" derives from meddyglyn, a compound of meddyg, "healing" + llyn, "liquor."
* Midus — Lithuanian for mead, made of natural bee honey and berry juice. Infused with carnation blossom, acorn, poplar buds, juniper berries and other herbs, it is often made as a mead distillate or mead nectar, some of the varieties having as much as 75% of alcohol.
* Morat — Morat blends honey and mulberries.
* Mulsum — Mulsum is not a true mead, but is unfermented honey blended with a high-alcohol wine.
* Muscadore — Made with Muscatel wine.
* Omphacomel — A medieval mead recipe that blends honey with verjuice; could therefore be considered a variety of pyment (qv).
* Oxymel — Another historical mead recipe, blending honey with wine vinegar.
* Pitarrilla — Mayan drink made from a fermented mixture of wild honey, balché tree bark and fresh water.
* Pyment — Pyment blends honey and red or white grapes. Pyment made with white grape juice is sometimes called "white mead."
* Półtorak(TSG) — A Polish great mead, made using two units of honey for each unit of water
* Rhodomel — Rhodomel is made from honey, rose hips, petals or rose attar and water.
* Sack mead — This refers to mead that is made with more honey than is typically used. The finished product retains an extremely high specific gravity and elevated levels of sweetness. It derives its name, according to one theory, from the fortified dessert wine Sherry (which is sometimes sweetened after fermentation and in England once bore the nickname of "sack"); another theory is that the term derived from the Japanese drink sake, being introduced by Spanish and Portuguese traders.
* Short mead — Also called "quick mead." A type of mead recipe that is meant to age quickly, for immediate consumption. Because of the techniques used in its creation, short mead shares some qualities found in cider (or even light ale): primarily that it is effervescent, and often has a cidery taste. It can also be champagne-like.
* Show mead — A term which has come to mean "plain" mead: that which has honey and water as a base, with no fruits, spices or extra flavorings. Since honey alone often does not provide enough nourishment for the yeast to carry on its lifecycle, a mead that is devoid of fruit, etc. will sometimes require a special yeast nutrient and other enzymes to produce an acceptable finished product. In most competitions including all those using the BJCP style guidelines as well as the International Mead Fest, the term "traditional mead" is used for this variety. It should be considered, however, that since mead is historically a very variable product, such recent (and artificial) guidelines apply mainly to competition judging as a means of providing a common language; style guidelines, per se, do not really apply to commercial and historical examples of this or any type of mead.
* Sima - a quickly fermented low-alcoholic Finnish variety, seasoned with lemon and associated with the festival of vappu.
* Tej — Tej is an Ethiopian mead, fermented with wild yeasts (and bacteria), and with the addition of gesho. Recipes vary from family to family, with some recipes leaning towards braggot with the inclusion of grains.
* Trójniak(TSG) — A Polish mead, made using two units of water for each unit of honey.
* White mead — A mead that is colored white, either from herbs or fruit used or sometimes egg whites.