Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, and frequently fruits, spices, grains or hops. Now, from Portland, Me., to Wilmington De., all across the US, mead’s reputation is being restored. This may be partly due to the explosion in styles of mead as its makers move past the sweet, slightly caramelized, honey-forward traditional mead of that Renaissance Faire. Today, the Irish-American’s of the Brandywine Valley can find local Mmeads dry-hopped and as flinty and serve as the bleakest unoaked Chablis; light summer quaffers with the freshness and subtle bubbles of a good prosecco; complex, multilayered dessert Meads perfect with chocolate; even seasonal Meads flavored with saffron, sage, fruits or juniper berries.
Mead is a wine and a wine made with honey instead of grapes. As a wine’s character can be determined by its fruit and provenance, mead’s flavors can be attributed to the honey that’s used. Terroir is captured in a way winemakers only dream of, from the flowers whose pollen bees collect in a particular area at a particular time.
In Delaware’s spring and summer, there are dandelions and maple trees blooming, clover and apple blossoms, so its very light spring honey. The bees deposit that honey into the first of a set of boxes which are stacked on top of each other in hives. By the end of the season you might have five or eight or even more boxes of honey, and you can see the progression of the floral diversity through the summer in the transition from the first box to the last box. Summer is medium honey from alfalfa and hay throughout the Brandywine Valley, and then in the fall you get darker, richer, flavorful wildflower honey.
Here are a few cocktails to tease the tastebuds.
Mead Spritzer - Simple but oh, so refreshing!
2 parts chilled Mead or Raspberry Honey Wine
1 part chilled Seltzer Water or Club Soda
Garnish with Raspberries, Blackberries, a Twist of Orange Peel or Sprig of Fresh Thyme.
Raspberry Honey Champagne - Bubbly with a twist!
1 part chilled Raspberry infused Honey Wine
1 part chilled Champagne
Garnish with Raspberries.
Key Lime Mead - A Tantalizing treat for your taste buds
6 Ounces chilled Sweet Mead
1 Tbsp. Lime Juice
Garnish with a Lime Peel.
Meadmosa - A lovely way to start the weekend
2 part chilled Sweet Mead
1 part chilled Fresh-Squeezed orange Juice
Garnish with a Mint leaf or Spiral of Orange Peel.
2 parts Sweet Mead
1 part Dry Fly ™ Gin
1 part Orange Juice
Splash of Simple Syrup (to taste)
Shaken with ice to chill
Mead and Whiskey Sour
1 part lemon
1 part Whiskey
3 parts Sweet Mead
1 part (or to taste) Simple Syrup
Serve in a beautiful glass with a sugared rim.