Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of honey, water, and yeast. Meadhing (ˈmɛ.ðɪŋ) is the practice of brewing mead. Mead is also colloquially known as "honey wine". A brewery that deals specifically in mead is called either a meadery or a mazery.
A mead that also contains spices (such as cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg), or herbs (such as oregano, hops, or even lavender or chamomile), is called a metheglin (). The English usage is derived from the Old English medu, from Proto-Germanic meduz. Slavic miod / med, which means "honey", and Baltic *midus, which means "mead", derive from the same Proto-Indo-European root (cf. Welsh medd, Old Irish mid, and Sanskrit madhu).
A mead that contains fruit (such as raspberry, blackberry or strawberry) is called a melomel, which was also used as a means of food preservation, keeping summer produce for the winter. A mead that is fermented with grape juice is called a pyment.
Mulled mead is a popular winter holiday drink, where mead is flavored with spices (and sometimes various fruits) and warmed, traditionally by having a hot poker plunged into it.
The first known description of mead is in the hymns of the Rigveda, one of the sacred books of the historical Vedic religion and (later) Hinduism 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 Meteorologica and elsewhere, while Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79) called mead militites in his Naturalis Historia and differentiated wine sweetened with honey or "honey-wine" from mead.
Around AD 550, the Cumbric speaking bard Taliesin wrote the Kanu y med or "Song of Mead." The legendary drinking, feasting and boasting of warriors in the mead hall is echoed in the mead hall Dyn Eidyn (modern day Edinburgh), and in the epic poem Y Gododdin, both dated around AD 700. The Heorot in the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf also was known to host the drinking of mead.
Mead was the historical beverage par excellence and commonly brewed by the Germanic tribes in Northern Europe. However, heavy taxation and regulations governing the ingredients of alcoholic beverages led to commercially made 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.
In many parts of Europe it was traditional to supply a newly married couple with enough mead for a month, ensuring happiness and fertility. Though some believe it is from this practice we get honeymoon, this etymology is not accepted by linguists.
Mead was also popular in Central Europe and in the Baltic states. In Polish, mead is called miód pitny meaning "drinkable honey". In Russia, mead remained popular as medovukha and sbiten long after its decline in popularity in the West. Sbiten is often mentioned in the works of 19th-century Russian writers, including Gogol, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
In Finland, a sweet mead called Sima (cognate with zymurgy), is still an essential seasonal brew connected with the Finnish Vappu (May Day) festival. It is usually spiced by adding both the pulp and rind of a lemon. During secondary fermentation, raisins are added to control the amount of sugars and to act as an indicator of readiness for consumption; they will rise to the top of the bottle when the drink is ready.
Ethiopian mead is called tej (ጠጅ, ˈtʼədʒ) and is usually home-made. It is flavored with the powdered leaves and bark of gesho, a hop-like bittering agent which is a species of buckthorn. A sweeter, less-alcoholic version called berz, aged for a shorter time, is also made. The traditional vessel for drinking tej is a rounded vase-shaped container called a berele.
Mead can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the source of the honey, additives (also known as "adjuncts" or "gruit"), including fruit and spices, the yeast employed during fermentation, and aging procedure. Mead can be difficult to find commercially, though some producers have been successful in marketing it. Some producers have marketed white wine with added honey as mead, often spelling it "meade". This is closer in style to a Hypocras. Blended varieties of mead may be known by either style represented. For instance, a mead made with cinnamon and apples may be referred to as either a cinnamon cyser or an apple metheglin.
Some meads retain some measure of the sweetness of the original honey, and some may even be considered as dessert wines. Drier meads are also available, and some producers offer sparkling meads. There are a number of faux-meads, which are actually cheap wines with large amounts of honey added, to produce a cloyingly sweet liqueur.
Take of spring water what quantity you please, and make it more than blood-warm, and dissolve honey in it till 'tis strong enough to bear an egg, the breadth of a shilling; then boil it gently near an hour, taking off the scum as it rises; then put to about nine or ten gallons seven or eight large blades of mace, three nutmegs quartered, twenty cloves, three or four sticks of cinnamon, two or three roots of ginger, and a quarter of an ounce of Jamaica pepper; put these spices into the kettle to the honey and water, a whole lemon, with a sprig of sweet-briar and a sprig of rosemary; tie the briar and rosemary together, and when they have boiled a little while take them out and throw them away; but let your liquor stand on the spice in a clean earthen pot till the next day; then strain it into a vessel that is fit for it; put the spice in a bag, and hang it in the vessel, stop it, and at three months draw it into bottles. Be sure that 'tis fine when 'tis bottled; after 'tis bottled six weeks 'tis fit to drink.
Historically, meads were fermented by wild yeasts and bacteria (as noted in the above quoted recipe) residing on the skins of the fruit or within the honey itself. Wild yeasts generally provide inconsistent results, and in modern times various brewing interests have isolated the strains now in use. Certain strains have gradually become associated with certain styles of mead. Mostly, these are strains that are also used in beer or wine production. However, several commercial labs, such as White Labs, WYeast, Vierka, have developed yeast strains specifically for mead.
Mead can be distilled to a brandy or liqueur strength. Krupnik is a sweet Polish liqueur made through such a process. A version of this called "honey jack" can be made by partly freezing a quantity of mead and pouring off the liquid without the ice crystals (a process known as freeze distillation), in the same way that applejack is made from cider.
Blue Birthday ; Things Are Now Becoming Cloyingly Sweet between the Once Estranged Cousins Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena Leader Uddhav Thackeray
Aug 13, 2012; Things are now becoming cloyingly sweet between the once estranged cousins. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray...