Mead has been in fashion for the last years, probably because it’s fairly easy to brew, or maybe just because it’s the one sweet drink no one would ever think of calling “girly”. With an increase of TV shows and movies related to medieval times and Vikings, the mystic of the mead halls where victories in battle were celebrated makes us all wish we could taste what is inside those glasses, mugs or horns. Mead is associated commonly with the Vikings, but was drank all over the world, especially among the Celts, Romans and as far as Asian countries. In fact, the oldest archaeological finding related to mead is 7000 year-old pottery found in China with chemical traces of having contained mead, indicating that it is quite possibly the oldest alcoholic beverage on earth, pre-dating beer and wine.
Is there a single recipe for mead?
Purists say true mead is obtained only from the fermentation of honey and water. The oldest recipe of mead was written by Collumella, a Roman who lived in Hispania around the year 60 B.C., and was a prominent writer on the fields of agriculture and botany. His recipe goes as follows:
Take rainwater kept for several years, and mix a sextarius of this water with a pound of honey. For a weaker mead, mix a sextarius of water with nine ounces of honey. The whole is exposed to the sun for 40 days, and then left on a shelf near the fire. If you have no rainwater, then boil spring water.
The bacteria contained in rainwater, as well as the 40 days in the sun, would make for a good environment for the fermentation process to occur, turning the sugar in the honey to alcohol. However effective this process was, it probably wasn’t the best in terms of hygiene and fortunately later recipes mention yeasts, the same kind that was used to make beer. Other ingredients mentioned in several recipes are: fruits, berries, orange and lemon peel, cinnamon and other spices, hops and even raisins, as is the case of the Digby Recipe from the 17th century.
Mead can be anything from sweet to dry, still or bubbly. It can resemble wine, or taste more like beer. Alcoholic content can vary from 3.5% to more than 20%. It all depends on the yeasts used, flavouring ingredients, and fermentation time.
We currentlt have 6 different varieties of mead in our store, we hope to get more as we grow, and offer our clients all kinds of meads!
Our most popular mead at the moment is the Odin mead, a craft brew with 5% alcohol, produced in colaboration with small beekeeping businesses. It has a fairly short fermentation period and uses the same yeast as beer, giving it simmilar notes. It is a light drink with a medium taste of honey, a good substitute for beer.
From the same meadery, we also have Loki mead, with 7.5% alcohol content and a rich red colour, and a flavour that resembles red berries. Resembles, because no fruits, artificial flavours or colourings are used in its recipe, it follows the guidelines to fit the category of Methegli. Much like the trickster God himself, this mead can deceive your senses. Loki is made by the same process as Odin but with a secret ingredient, it does not have a very intense honey taste, it's a sweet and fruity light drink that could trick you to think it's juice!
Although Odin and Loki are very popular, in reality they are not very historically accurate, if you want to try something more similar to what Vikings, Romans and Medieval Folk drank, we'd advise the Valhalla meads. We have four varieties, in 33cl and 75cl bottles and it's a more wine like mead:
Traditional - the most similar to the Viking mead, half dry, with a taste that resembles natural cider, it has a medium fermentation time with wine yeast and it's not filtered, thus has a deposit. It has a hint of honey but is not a sweet drink;
Classic - based on Roman recipes, it is similar to the Traditional but it is filtered and dryer - can be easily mistaken for a dry white wine with a hint of honey - please note this is not a sweet drink at all, it is very dry/sour;
Double Honey, resembling a honey liquor, made with a high rate of honey and longer fermentation it has a strong honey taste with a light and fresh texture, sweet, pairs perfectly with a cheese platter;
Freyja, a high rate of honey macerated with red berries in a longer fermentation, providing it with an intense pink colour, this mead has an unique sweet fruity taste and slight natural carbonation, resembles a rosé or moscatel, it is ideal to drink cold in a summer day.
We advise you to try them all and decide for yourself which one is your favourite, it won't be an easy choice ;)
We are about to lauch a Mead Experience Pack that includes the 6 different types in 33cl bottles and costs the base rate of the bottles with FREE SHIPPING to all Continental Portugal. We decided to open pre orders and as a SPECIAL LIMITED OFFER we will include a ceramic Taberna Drakkar 25cl cup, limited to the first 50 orders!