We were getting drunk even before we learned to grow our own food.
Discovered before the advent of agriculture, mead is said to be found by ancient peoples who happened to stumble upon an all-natural fermentation process…and then ate it.
After consuming the contents of a rained-out beehive that was infiltrated by an airborne yeast, we imagine these ancient people got pretty boozy and thought, “Wow this is great, how do we get more?.”
There are ancient texts, such as the sacred Indian Rigveda, and the Poetry of Mead in Norse mythology, celebrating the mysticism surrounding honey and mead, dating mead’s popularity thousands of years ago.
The History of Mead
Mead, often referred to as "nectar of the gods," has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years.
Considered the first and oldest alcohol in the world, mead comes with a history so rich you’ll be surprised you’ve never heard of it.
This ancient beverage was enjoyed by the Vikings, Egyptians, Greeks, and many other civilizations.
It's even believed that the term "honeymoon" originated from the custom of newlyweds drinking mead for a month (or one moon cycle) after their wedding to ensure fertility and happiness.
How is Mead Made?
At its core, mead is a fermented beverage made from honey, water, and yeast.
It all starts with hardworking bees, who collect nectar from flowers and transform it into the sweet and sticky honey you know and love.
To make mead, honey is combined with water to create a "must" (a fancy word for unfermented honey-water).
Then, yeast is added and fermentation begins.
The yeast consumes the sugars in the honey, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide. And mead is born!
The ABV can range from 4% to a whopping 24%, and depending on the desired flavor and style, the fermentation process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, or even years!
What Does Mead Taste Like?
Ranging from bubbly dry, still, and syrup sweet, there truly is a mead for every palate.
It can be served room-temperature or chilled, depending on the style. There are over 50 different variations of mead, including:
- Traditional Mead: Made with only honey, water, and yeast, this classic style allows the honey's natural flavors to shine through.
- Melomel: Fruit-infused meads that can include a wide array of flavors, from berries and cherries to citrus and tropical fruits.
- Metheglin: A spiced mead that often features herbs, spices, or even flowers, adding layers of flavor complexity.
- Cyser: A delightful blend of mead and apples or apple cider
- Braggot: A unique combination of mead and beer, with the addition of malted grains to the mix.
Sipping and Savoring Tips: Now that you're a budding mead connoisseur, it's time to put your taste buds to the test!
A few tips for sipping and savoring this golden elixir:
Temperature matters: Most meads are best enjoyed slightly chilled or at room temperature.
Pair it up: Mead can be paired with a variety of foods, from charcuterie and cheese boards to spicy dishes and desserts. Experiment and find your favorite combinations.
Explore the flavors: Just like wine or craft beer, mead offers a vast array of flavor profiles. Don't be afraid to try different styles.
Sip slowly: Mead is meant to be savored, so take your time and let each sip linger on your palate to fully appreciate the depth of flavors.
Try a Mead-tail: Meads can pair very well with cocktail syrups or other liquors. See for yourself in our recipes for mead cocktails, like our Fruit Mead Slushie.
Share the love: Mead is a social beverage, perfect for sharing with friends and family. Introduce your loved ones to this ancient drink and create new memories over a glass of liquid gold.
The world of mead is as rich and diverse as the bees that help create it.
From its storied history to the myriad of styles and flavors available, there's so much to explore and enjoy.
Grab a bottle, gather your friends, and toast to the bees and the magic they create. Cheers to mead, the nectar of the gods!