If a true mead is to be made, try to use an English single-blossom honey - acacia, clover, orange, lime-blossom and rosemary are outstandingly good, and all will mature fairly early, but if you have the patience to wait 8 years, heather must be near the top. The honey and water mixture must first be sterilized by adding a Campden tablet or by boiling (for quality use the Campden tablet). Adjust the must by the addition of the acid and tannin as in the recipe and also add plenty of nutrient salts. Finally add the yeast starter at the correct temperature. During the fermentation, rack carefully, keep the jar topped up with water, and add a Campden tablet at each racking. Be sure that airlocks are filled.
Honey is used to make a whole range of alcoholic drinks; many Melomels are made with honey and the addition of one or more types of fruit. There is also a range of drinks, all of very ancient origin, which seem to have come about because it was found that the addition of other ingredients improved the fermentation, and resulted in a stronger wine.
Pyment This first arose in Greek and Roman times, and was a mead with the addition of grapes. It became the dessert wine of the day, though probably not above 15% alcohol by volume.
Hippocras Named after the Greek ‘Father of Medicine’, involved the addition of a number of herbs to Pyment.
Metheglin In England at this time similar experiments were taking place, but with the absence of grapes in quantity, the drink was simply mead plus herbs.
Cyser Again an English drink, this was a mead with the addition of Apple Juice.
© 1978 Mary Norwak estate. All rights reserved.