Mead, made from fermented honey, was the earliest of all alcoholic beverages; the BEAKER people who inhabited England from 2000BC were known to have drunk it or something like it. Long before the Romans arrived in Britain, Celtic Druid Bards described the island, as dicovered in ancient Roman texts, as "The Isle of Honey". It was orginally a drink for warriors and Druidic princes & priests, as well as noblemen. A chieftains’ bodyguard would fight his battles in return for drinking his mead. There are many types of mead; this method is for "Metheglin", which means it is a "Spiced Mead". The ancient Druids would not have had spices or lemons available, but nevertheless, this is based on a very ancient Celtic recipe. This is an easy and delicious form of mead, but although it is ready to drink after 4-6 months, it is far superior if left for many years. The mead in my photographs was made in 2002 and bottled in 2003! Please ensure if you do not make wines or liqueurs regularly, that you thoroughly sterilise EVERYTHING that you use; I use "Campden Tablets".
- Very large Pan - to hold 12 pints; Thermometer; 8 pint Fermentation Jar; Airlock; Bottles.
- Bruise the ginger by folding it in to a clean cloth and hitting it with a hammer to release its flavour.
- Tie the bruised ginger, cloves, cinnamon stick and the lemon peel in a muslin cloth and put it into a 12-pint pan.
- Add the water and lemon juice and bring it to the boil.
- Allow to cool to 50C/122°F.
- Meanwhile, stand the honey in a warm place and allow to come to the same temperature.
- Add the honey to the lemon and ginger water and mix.
- Allow to cool to 21C/70F and then remove the muslin bag with the ginger and lemon peel in it.
- Crumble the yeast into the honey water and mix lightly.
- Pour the liquid into an 8-pint fermentation jar, it should reach about three quarters full, and fit the airlock.
- Leave until all fermentation has finished, racking if necessary.
- Leave for another 1-2 weeks before bottling and storing.
- The mead can be drunk after 4-6 months, but is best if kept for several years!
I made up my mind almost 15 months ago to make this mead, even though I'm not much of a drinker! So, I got a friend of mine who has fermentation jars & the necessary bottles to get the job done! I furnished the ingredients, & he helped me out with the processing! All I wanted out of it was a bottle of the mead, so he was happy enough with the 'leftovers' if you could call them that! I was almost tempted to taste it after a couple of months, but was persuaded to leave things alone for at least a year! And here I am now to tell you what? I have no idea what honey mead should taste like, but I can tell you 2 things: I thoroughly enjoyed the mead that I drank, & my friend, who is much more knowledgeable than I am assured me that the mead was worthy of at least 7 or 8 stars, so . . . Thanks so much, French Tart, for the great recipe! [Made & reviewed in Bargain Basement recipe tag]
Nice story, always love learning about food history. This recipe sounds delicious. I've tried homemade mead before and I really enjoyed it, but I don't know the exact recipe that was used except that he varied it with different types of honey and fermentation times. I really wish I had the money, the room, the time, and the resources to make this. Going to save it anyway, just in case. :D Thanks for sharing, French Tart.