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Mead Craft

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by Ian Kleine

Mead is an alcoholic beverage that is derived from a mixture of water and honey, fermented and left to develop using yeast. The content may rise from that of slightly alcoholic, to one that could knock out a heavy drinker. More often than not, it is confused with the name ‘honey wine’ but it is still mead. Quite really, it is still just water and honey for the more no-nonsense folks out there.

A different type of mead that has herbs and spices (common favorites are ginger, vanilla, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, oregano and even lavender) is called metheglin. Metheglin comes from the word “meddyglyn” which roughly means ‘healing liquor’ suggesting to its earlier use as a type of therapeutic or immediate drug.

Nowadays, metheglin is commercialized, produced, and sold in bottles across the state, more for its taste and appeal rather than its medicinal effects (if it did have any). Spicing and the combination of amount and type is key. As of this time, there are at least a hundred different types of metheglin, a handful being popular, and some bordering on the exotic or esoteric.

Metheglin makes for good business, especially in parts of Texas who still have the appetite for this pioneer drink. It’s simple, and not complicated like beer or most of the modern wines that we have. The health bit is a bonus; it’s the taste that matters. After all, we’ve been smoking and drinking with disregard for our health. Well, metheglin may actually be good for your body. Moderation, again, is key to this however. After all, too much of a good thing would still bring illness to you.

To make metheglin, mix rational parts of water and honey, bring to a boil, and mix in your herbs or flowers/spices and yeast. Allow to ferment for a week in an airtight container. Drain out and strain for impurities and ferment once more. Let it reach at least a year for good and sweet taste that’s deep, like the history of mead.

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