The Mead Hall

The Mead Hall:

Mary Sevelli's Tastes of Anglo-Saxon England has a recipe for mead. It requires three pounds of honey, so for a long time I never tried it on account of never remembering to buy so formidable a quantity at once. I usually only eat honey on pancakes, which means that a jar of honey could readily last me a year or two.

Or it could have done; now I think I may have to start setting up beehives. I've got three batches working their way through fermentation at this point, because the taste of the first batch at its first racking was so good that it justified the additional experiments. It's some good stuff, especially if (as she recommends) you take the trouble to find Champagne yeast. I did the first batch with baker's yeast, and it still came out good.

There's little involved in making a batch, and it makes the house smell like cinnamon and honey; then you put it away for a while, rack it a couple of times, and after a few months drink it. You can store it in old milk or water jugs (suitably cleaned) with balloons on top, if you don't have the fancy equipment that professionals like. If you wanted clarity you could run it through a coffee filter instead of cheesecloth, but there are quite a few beneficial qualities to honey, so you might want it just like this.

If you wanted something more authentically ancient, you might dispense with the cinnamon and black tea that she advises, and use instead different flavors like grains of paradise, cloves or nutmeg (or just honey!). There are many other mead recipes online as well (for example, see here).

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