Mead is a delicious concoction which includes many varieties, such as the recipe that results in metheglin. Simply made from natural ingredients, this beverage and most of its variants are some of the oldest recipes that people have ever devised. You may be able to find one or more of these drinks in a bar or pub, but it is more likely that you will need to make it at home. Since that involves the process known as fermentation, you should carefully follow the few steps related here to make sure that you enjoy this wonderful drink safely.
What Is Mead?
Mead, according to one famous anthropologist, represents the passage of humans from nature to civilization. It is the oldest drink besides water and milk. Ancient humans apparently discovered the results of fermentation for the first time with honey. The most basic form of mead is simply that – a fermented mixture of honey and water.
Evidence of this beverage has been found around the world in ruins thousands of years old that predate agriculture. Multiple versions of it exist but all have fermented honey and water as their base. Some add grain mash to the mix, while others also include a variety of spices and herbs.
What Is a Metheglin?
A metheglin is one of the many simple varieties of mead. Even this variation has many different versions, depending upon the spices added. Some of these additional ingredients are cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, orange and ginger.
The name metheglin comes from the Welsh language. It is composed of two words meaning healing and liquor. It was used as a medicinal beverage among those ancient peoples.
A Metheglin Recipe
The ingredients listed below are not written in stone. Ancient peoples basically put anything that was not poisonous in their mead to add to the flavor. The one key ingredient for authentic metheglin is the honey.
• 3 lbs. honey
• 2 tsps. coriander seeds
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 tsp. cloves
• Nutmeg shavings (just a few solid chunks)
• 2 tea bags
• Wine yeast (and yeast nutrient)
• 1 gallon water
Put the water in a pot and boil it. While you wait for it to boil, combine the spices in a butter muslin bag. Tie it up with a long string hanging from it. Once the water is boiling, drop the bag of spices in while leaving the remainder of the strong out of the water. You will need to retrieve the bag later. Do the same with the two tea bags. You can remove the tea bags after a just two or three minutes but the spice bag should remain for at least 20 minutes. The smell should be lovely and if you want to keep it in longer go ahead.
Now add the honey to the pot and stir it in. Simmer this brew for an hour. Remove the scum that forms on the surface.
Activate the yeast separately. Allow the mixture of honey, water and spices to cool until it is lukewarm. Pour this cooled mixture into a fermentation bin and add the activated yeast and the yeast nutrient. Allow this all to sit in a warm place for several days. Stir it twice a day for the first few days before transferring all the liquid into a demijohn.
Over the course of two to three weeks, a sediment will build up. Rack it into a clean demijohn. You may need to repeat this step until fermentation appears to stop. The whole process may take up to two months.