Nectar of the gods

Mead

What was once called Ambrosia, or the nectar of the gods, by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Scandinavians, and Assyrians is what we know today as the alcoholic drink known as Mead.

Mead, thought to be the oldest alcoholic beverage known to man, was most likely discovered by accident. Legend has it that early hunters found a beehive filled with rainwater. Being thirsty, they took a swig of the sweet water. Of course, being unaware of fermentation and alcohol, they were about to experience man’s first intoxication. Before long, fermentation took on mystical and religious qualities. Ancient Incas and Aztecs brewed Mead and held it in reverence.

Many ancient civilizations believed mead to have magical and sacred properties that would prolong life, and bestow health, and increase strength and virility. The poet Virgil tells us that bees were sent to the sky to honor the goddess Aphrodite. After all, Mead is supposed to be the ultimate aphrodisiac. During the Middle Ages, Kings built elaborate Mead Cellars in their castles.

In reality, Mead is nothing more than yeast-fermented honey water. Of course, modern sophistication dictates that the types of yeast utilized to brew Mead be carefully selected and controlled, unlike the ancient methods of allowing wild, unpredictable yeasts to attack the sugars in the honey. The result, however, is one of the finest tasting beverages ever designed by humans, with a little help from Nature.

There are several types of Mead. Traditional Mead consists of water, honey, and yeast. Add fruit to the honey water, and you get melomel. Add grapes and the result is pyment. Infuse Mead with herbs and spices, and you brewed metheglin. One can even get creative. Ferment honey with apple juice and enjoy cyser, or if you prefer, brew a spiced pyment melomel and have yourself a hippocras.

It takes a while for Mead to age. However, anyone can brew a terrific gallon full, stash it away in a closet for a few months, and taste it. There are a million online recipes. I have tasted Mead, and it is indescribable. There is one caution for those who wish to give it a try. Before getting started, be absolutely certain you are willing to fall in love three months down the road.


 
 
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Comments

  1. Very interesting. And 'mead' is always a great Scrabble word. I do believe that in Robin Hood--the newest movie--Friar Tuck made mead and that's what got him accepted into Robin's band of merry men.

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    1. Linda: I am an old Errol Flynn fan. I haven't seen the newest version, but it makes sense that mead would be a great entre into the band. At the very least, he would find himself amidst merry men.

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  2. Oh yes, Mead... my daughter and her husband have shown me just how tasteful it is ...we just all dined with a couple of bottles just a couple of weeks ago.

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    1. Karen: I knew you were a member of a classy family.

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  3. Never heard of this mead stuff. Funny though, my husband comes from a family of teetotalers on his mothers side and their last name: Mead!

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    1. Jasmine: Go to ancestry.com and you'll probably discover why the Mead family now drinks tea. Don't let that discourage you, however. It's good stuff!

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  4. I've never tried mead, but now I'm curious. What made you think to write about that in this post? You come up with the most unbelievable range of topics. (Love the response about the merry men--very funny.)

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    1. Galen: Brewing fine British Ales, Stouts, and Porters is one of my vast hobbies. Some day, I might attempt to become a Braumeister in Germany. I really do need a longer lifespan.

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    2. Heck with Germany. Come to Portland, known for its local brewers.

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    3. Rogue Ales, Deschutes Brewery, and Widmer Gasthaus are some of my favorites. My son was in the Coast Guard and stationed in Astoria. Next time I'm in Portland, I promise I will let you know. We may get out there next summer.

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  5. Hi JJ - I love mead, but it is rather sweet though .. we have Meaderies in Cornwall and loved our 'local' drink ... A Celtic by-product probably ..

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary: I am jealous. They have great mead in the UK.

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  6. Hello there, I am so excited I found your site, I really found you by error, while I was researching on google for Aphrodesiac Nectar , Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a fantastic post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds.

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  7. Sounds so good. I'm not much of a drinker, but who could refuse the nectar of the gods?

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