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!