We’ve talked about many different kinds of wines, but today let’s talk about Mead.
Spring is the perfect season to talk about mead since it’s been used in fertility rituals for centuries – Springtime being the season for planting and fertility celebrations worldwide.
For those of you not familiar, Mead, or “Honey wine” is the first alcoholic drink brewed by man — earlier than wine or beer — and it’s made by fermenting honey with water and yeast. The origins of mead have been traced back to ancient Egypt, and humans are believed to have relied on honey since the Stone Age.
Those of you who have heard about mead might have tried it at a Renaissance Festival – it’s quite popular as it’s one of the few “traditional” beverages from that time period still widely accessible today – it’s also delicious, once you get used to it!
For many centuries, mead has been renowned as an aphrodisiac. In fact, the word “honeymoon” is said to be derived from the ancient European custom of having newlyweds drink honey wine for a whole moon (month) in order to increase their fertility.
Another interesting fact about mead is that it has medicinal value. That’s largely due to the honey, which is now understood to be a “superfood.” Honey has many beneficial properties, therefore, mead has been used to treat everything from the common cold, ulcers and other digestive ailments to rheumatism, gout, and epilepsy.
While this history is well documented and even fascinating to read about, the medicinal properties of mass produced mead are much lower than of mead which is made locally. That’s because of the types of honey used. Commercial honey doesn’t have the necessary lactic acid bacteria since the contents are sterilized during processing, so if you’re looking for Mead to drink as a health tonic, your best bet is to check with your local Farmers Market or Whole Foods.
Another cool thing about mead is how easy it is to brew your own. Once you get the basics down, you can flavor it any way you like. All it takes is a small investment in supplies and a little patience, and you’ll be set!