MEAD is the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man. It’s created by fermenting honey with water, and sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops. The alcoholic content can range from about 7% ABV to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from pure honey. Mead can be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling; dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Mead was produced in ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, and has played an important role in the mythology of some cultures. In Norse mythology, for example, the Mead of Poetry was crafted from the blood of the wise being Kvasir and turned the drinker into a poet or scholar.
The terms “mead” and “honey-wine” often are used synonymously. However, some cultures differentiate honey-wine from mead. For example, Hungarians hold that while mead is made of honey, water and beer-yeast (barm), that honey-wine is watered honey fermented by recrement of grapes or other fruits.
History of Mead (according to Wikipedia) [😊]
Pottery dating from 7000 BC discovered in northern China have shown chemical signatures consistent with the presence of honey, rice, and organic compounds associated with fermentation.
The earliest surviving description of mead is in the hymns of the Rigveda, one of the sacred books of the historical Vedic religion 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 Meteorologic and elsewhere, while Pliny the Elder (23–79 AD) called mead militites in his Naturalis Historia and differentiated wine sweetened with honey or “honey-wine” from mead.
In the Old English epic poem, Beowulf, the Danish warriors drank mead. In both Insular Celtic and Germanic cultures mead was the primary heroic drink in poetry.
Later, 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.
WE LIKE TO THINK OF MEAD AS A BLAST FROM THE PAST!