Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of honey, water, and yeast. MeadingÂ is the practice of brewing honey. Mead is also known as “honey wine,” even if it is considered a separate and distinct type of alcoholic beverage.
Mulled mead is a popular winter holiday drink, where mead is flavored with spices and warmed, traditionally by having a hot poker plunged into it.
Mead can have a wide range of flavors, depending on the source of the honey, additives called “adjuncts” or “gruit” (including fruit and spices), yeast employed during fermentation, and aging procedure. Mead can be difficult to find commercially, though some producers have been successful marketing it. Consumers must bear in mind that some producers have marketed white wine with added honey as mead, often spelling it “meade.” Blended varieties of mead can be known by either style represented. For instance, a mead made with cinnamon and apples can be referred to as a cinnamon cyser or as an apple metheglin.
Some meads retain some measure of the sweetness of the original honey, and some can even be considered as dessert wines. Drier meads are also available, and some producers offer sparkling meads, which (like champagne) can make for a delightful celebratory toast. There are a number of faux-meads, which are actually cheap wines with large amounts of honey added, to produce a cloyingly sweet liqueur. It has been said that “a mead that tastes of honey is as good as a wine that still tastes of grape”.
Different types of mead include, but are not limited to:
- Traditional Mead – made from honey, yeast and water – literally a wine made from honey.
- Melomel – Meads that have been flavored with additional fruits such as peach, blackberry, plum, apple, pear or others. Specific variations include Cyser, Braggot and Pyment.
- Metheglin – Meads made with spices to cover the flavor of fermentation.
- Cyser – Meads made with apples and honey, a type of melomel.
- Pyment – Meads made with grapes and honey, a type of melomel.
- Hippocras – Meads made with grapes, honey, and spices, a combination of a pyment and a metheglin.