Mead is one of those drinks that we associate with Vikings, medieval knights, and damsels. But, thanks to the UK raising craft cocktail culture, mead is becoming popular beyond medieval and Renaissance fairs and reenactment societies. The 1st of August, in the UK, and the 7th of August, in the US, is Mead Day, which provides the ideal occasion for celebrating all things mead. But, first of all, what is mead, and how can you enjoy it in a cocktail?
Mead is credited with being one of the oldest alcoholic beverages known to man. It is produced through the mixing and fermentation of honey and water, and it can be enjoyed still or sparkling. Spices, fruits, and herbs can be added to the mix to make it more flavoursome. Already in ancient times, mead was drunk in Europe and Asia. The Ancient Greeks associated it with the notion of ambrosia, the food and drink deemed worthy to be consumed by the immortal gods of Olympus. Mead or ‘honey wine’ had its heyday in Medieval Europe, when it was the drink of choice for everyone, from the Celts to the Vikings and Germans. Apparently, the origin of the word ‘honeymoon’ goes back to these remote times when newlyweds drunk mead during their first ‘moon’, that is the month, of marriage. Mead was thought to increase the fertility of the bride and the virility of the bridegroom. Over the last years, mead consumption has increased and it seems that this very old liquor is making a comeback. Popularized by bawdy medieval-type TV characters, like those in the Game of Thrones, mead has become in the last years one of the most enjoyed craft drinks. Nowadays, mead, one of the oldest drinks in the world, is experienced in new forms, such as mead cocktails.
Mead can be drunk neat or mixed with other beverages in delicious concoctions. As summer transitions into autumn, we propose two mead cocktails to go with the changing seasons. For those last sunny days of summer, when you still can have your dinner al fresco in the garden or enjoy a drink on the terrace, we propose the Mead Negroni. To make it, you need 25ml gin, 25ml mead, 25ml Aperol, ice, and orange peel to garnish. Pour the gin, mead, and Aperol into a jug. Stir gently, add ice, pour into glasses, and garnish with orange peel.
For those days when autumn claims its rights, to warm up the body and lift up the spirits, we propose a mug of Mulled Mead. You will need 750ml mead, a dash of brandy, lemon and orange peel, and 1 cinnamon stick. Warm the ingredients in a saucepan until simmering. Pour into glass mugs and add a cinnamon stick for stirring (optional).
Consider trying a mead cocktail on your next night out and don’t hesitate to make it yourself at home. It’s the perfect drink to welcome autumn and say goodbye to summer. Share this old drink with friends and have it prepared at your next event by a professional bartender from a bar hire company.