What is Mead?

by Mike Simonson
By now, you all know that we are obsessed with wine.

However, that doesn’t mean we’re discriminating against other kinds of alcoholic beverages.

In fact, we are equal opportunity, open-minded consumers here, and we want you to be too.

So, for a little departure from our regularly scheduled programming, we want to bring you some information on a very underrated yet highly delicious drink: mead.

By now, you all know that we are obsessed with wine. Really, really, obsessed. However, that doesn’t mean we’re discriminating against other kinds of alcoholic beverages. In fact, we are equal opportunity, open-minded consumers here, and we want you to be too.

So, for a little departure from our regularly scheduled programming, we want to bring you some information on a very underrated yet highly delicious drink: mead.

What is mead? Well, to start, it’s a fermented honey drink that’s made with spices and fruits. The process of making mead begins with diluted honey, fruits, and spices, which is then added to yeast and fermented. Some consider it to be wine because of the sugar content from the honey which is similar to the sugar content that comes from grapes.


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Like many of our favorite fermented beverages, mead dates back about 8,000 years ago as a regular drink for the Greeks, Romans, and even the Vikings, making it one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world. It dropped off in popularity when beer came into the picture but in the last few years, mead has made a resurgence into the current drinking culture and not just because Dylan Sprouse opened his own meadery in Brooklyn (but it certainly helps.)

The resurfacing of mead is largely in part due to the craft beer industry and the interest people have in unique takes on hoppy and malty beverages. People who are really into the use of interesting spices and flavors in beer are also the folks who enjoy mead. It’s a path that the wine industry isn’t as able to take in terms of flavor profiles, although the sweeter meads can definitely end up being compared to wines.

Similar to the hops in beer, the true character of mead comes from the type of honey that is used, and we’re not talking about the stuff that comes in the little plastic bear. Honey can be made with different fruits which deliver a unique taste, but the bee’s own diet of nectars and pollens have an effect on flavor as well.

We can try and describe this ancient drink to you but the best way to get acquainted with mead is to try it yourself. Here in New York, we have a couple of great sources of mead that are open and happy to teach you about it: Enlightenment Wines and Helderberg MeadWorks. Check out these two and learn for yourself how awesome mead is!



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