Ask any regular Castlefest-goer about their festival experiences and most of the stories will contain a good amount of mead. It’s difficult to imagine a fantasy event without being able to fill your drinking horn with mead at the bar. But this honey-sweet alcoholic beverage isn’t that well-known outside of the scene. For those who aren’t that familiar with it, we’ve written this blog. Here you’ll find all the answers to questions like: What is mead? and: Where does it come from?
What is mead?
Mead is an alcoholic drink that is often referred to as honey wine. Yet, that reference is not entirely accurate. As it is in the base made from honey, water, and yeast, instead of fruit, it is not a wine. Even the mead with fruit flavours is still not seen as wine. It is in a league of its own, somewhere between beer and wine.
There are many different flavours available on the mead market. The honey drink can be flavoured with fruits, spices, grains and hop (and all combinations). This results in a very broad range of tastes; sweet, dry, still, sparkling are all ways used to describe different meads.
Where does mead come from?
Popular TV shows and movies have made mead a drink to associate with Vikings and the Middle Ages. But it is much older than that. All through history, people have enjoyed the alcoholic beverage. It long outlives wine and beer as it goes as far back as 3000 BC.
It is thought to originate from China’s Henan province, when the rain dropped into a pot of honey. But it can also be found with the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Slavic countries and Africa.
As honey has been available to many people, mead is believed to be the ancestor of all alcoholic beverages and has been drunk in all layers of society; farmers, soldiers as well as pirates and even royalty. It is even said that mead is Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite drink, with a special recipe containing rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and sweet briar rose.
Great, but now I want some mead for myself...
That’s possible! As mead is not a widespread beverage in the Netherlands your best shot is finding it in a webshop, like the one of Celtic Drinks.
Making your own mead is also a possibility, but there is a little more science behind it than simply putting a pot of honey under your rain pipe.
What is your favourite mead flavour?