A favorite in cultures around the world for centuries or more, you can't find a drink much more historically revered than mead or honey wine. Mead is made by fermenting honey and water, as well as a variety of spices, fruits, and more. The alcohol content in mead varies from about 8 percent to well over 20 percent.
Mead in History:
If you've ever read mythology or historical tellings, you know that mead and honey wine have been a presence in societies all over the world. In ancient times it was produced in Africa, Europe and Asia. The drink even plays a role in the religions and mythologies of people around the world. For example, honey wine features strongly in the Norse myth Mead of Poetry.
Where is Mead Produced?
Because the most important part of mead is the honey, this drink is made all over the world, just about anywhere you can find honey. There are different variations and varieties. Sima is a sweet honey wine found in Finland and connected to the Finnish May Day festival. It is unique in its flavor, because of the pulp and rind of lemon used for spicing. In Ethiopia, the most popular honey wine is tej, which is generally homemade. Meaderies have popped up all over the United States over the last few decades, growing the popularity of the drink.
Honey Wine and Mead Flavor Profiles:
Overall, mead and honey wine are sweet drinks. Many use mead as an after-dinner or dessert wine. However, not all mead is sweet. Depending on the fermentation process and the other ingredients used, it can end up extremely dry.
Frequently, mead is made with fruits to enhance and change the overall flavor. If you have a favorite fruit, try to find a mead that matches. Raspberry is a popular option, adding a bit of a tart flavor to the drink. Common fruit pairings with honey wine are apple, grape, and just about any berry. For a more unique flavor, there are options like mango mead.
Not all mead is made sweet or with fruit. On the other end of the spectrum, you find spiced mead. Some spices commonly used are allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. These are spices that are also used in mulled cider. For something a little different, there are meads with chili peppers or the Ethiopian spice, gesho.