Mead, often referred to as honey wine, is an alcoholic drink made by the fermentation of honey. Mead is, in all likelihood, the oldest alcoholic beverage known to mankind. Before agricultural techniques were developed, humans were traditionally hunters and gatherers. After gathering honey from the hive, the natural yeast and high moisture content would cause the honey to ferment, producing mead. It is no wonder mead is often referred to as ‘the nectar of the gods', as its appearance seemed miraculous.
The term "honeymoon" has been associated with drinking mead during the month-long celebration following a wedding in pagan times. In addition to the health-giving properties of honey; mead was thought by the Romans to lengthen life and possess unique healing qualities. The ancient Nordic people considered the drinking of mead as the most important aspect of daily life. Legends of great mead halls, feasts, and celebrations abound in the cultural histories of present-day countries of this area.
Mead (Honey Wine) is the oldest art of fermentation. Consumed by all, from kings to peasants, mead has gained a reputation as a giver of life, wisdom, courage and strength down through the ages. The traditional drinking vessel for mead is called a mazer and was generally bowl-shaped, made of wood and often inlaid with silver.
Melomel: Mead made with fruit added
Braggot (or Bracket) Mead made with malted grain (usually barley)
Hydromel: This is the term for a weak or watered down mead
Pyment: This is mead made with grape or grape juice added. This is also the term for a grape wine that has honey added to it.
Cyser - A mead made with apples or apple juice
Metheglin: A mead made with added spices - often considered to have medicinal traits. Some common spices are cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves
Rhodomel : An ancient Roman term for a mead made with rose petals
Sack Mead: A mead with a very high honey content. It has a high density and is often sweeter than typical meads. This can be thought of as a dessert wine of meads.
Show Mead: This is a term that has come to define a plain mead with no spices or fruits added.
Short Mead : (Also referred to as a quick mead) this is a mead that is made in a fashion so it matures quickly. Short meads are often very similar to ales.
Great Mead: Kind of like the opposite of a Short Mead. This mead is designed to be bottled and aged for several years.
Sparkling Mead: A carbonated mead much like a sparkling wine. This is usually achieved by adding a small amount of honey or sugar just before bottling. This causes a small secondary ferment while in the bottle that will elevate the pressure and sweetness.
Morat: A Melomel made from Mulberries
Hippocras: A Pyment to which spices have been added
Omphacomel: mead made with verjuice which is the juice of unripened grapes. This is often considered to be a type of pyment.
Oxymel - Made with wine vinegar
Acerglyn - Mead made with maple syrup
Bochet - refers to a mead that was made with the honey caramelized or burned before it is added to the water. Creates several different flavours including toffee, chocolate or marshmallow.
Capsicumel - Flavoured with chili pepper
Black Mead - Made with Black Currants
Mulled Mead - This refers to a mead that is heated before drinking. Typically it has spices for flavouring.
Chouchen - which is a French Brittany mead... which sometimes contains apple juice: