Mead, a fermented drink made from honey, water and yeast, is not traditionally associated with the Christmas holiday. While it can certainly be consumed during the holiday season, it is not a drink that is necessarily associated with Christmas, unlike winter wassail, eggnog, or mulled wine.
In recent years, some craft meaderies have started to offer special, seasonal batches of mead during the winter months, so while it may not be a traditional Christmas drink, some mead producers are leaning into the holiday spirit.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual or family to decide how they would like to incorporate mead into their holiday festivities.
What is Christmas mead?
Christmas mead is a festive alcoholic beverage made with honey, spices, and yeast. Its origins date back to the Middle Ages, when it was called “hippocras” and served at royal feasts and holiday celebrations.
Mead is a versatile drink and can be enjoyed cold, warm, or even hot. Although Christmas mead is traditionally made with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, brewers often infuse fruits, herbs, and other flavorings to give it an original twist.
Christmas mead is a deeply aromatized and intensely sweet beverage that is sure to make any holiday gathering more special. It is usually served with desserts and cheeses, making it a great option for after-meal drinks.
Its low alcohol content (usually 5-11%) also makes it a light and easy-to-drink pint that’s ideal for toasting around the holiday season.
Why did people stop drinking mead?
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water that was popular during the Middle Ages. By the 17th and 18th centuries, however, its popularity had begun to wane, and it has all but disappeared from mainstream society today.
There are a few possible reasons for this.
Firstly, increased trade, cultural shifts, and advances in brewing technology all allowed for the production of less expensive and more varied alcoholic beverages. This competition made it more difficult for mead to stay relevant and it gradually lost appeal among the public.
In addition, the expanding production of beers and wines throughout the world allowed these beverages to become more easily available and to undercut the prices of mead. This meant that those who preferred mead no longer had a significant cost advantage in deciding which drink to purchase.
Finally, the literature of the time and the records of people’s drinking habits suggest that mead was slowly losing its appeal socially and culturally. People were beginning to view it as an outdated beverage that was no longer seen as fashionable or modern.
This created a negative reputation around the drink, which made it more difficult for it to recover in popularity.
For all of these reasons, mead slowly became less and less popular until it almost disappeared entirely. In recent years, however, its popularity has been experiencing something of a resurgence, though it has yet to reach the level it had in the days of old.
How do you drink Christmas mead?
Mead, also known as honey wine, is a traditional beverage made with fermented honey, water, and sometimes other herbs and spices. On Christmas, mead is often part of a festive celebration and usually enjoyed chilled.
To drink mead during Christmas, start by selecting the type you’d like to sample based on your tastes and preferences. If you’re not sure, there are a variety of meads available ranging from sweet to dry, sparkling to still, and high-alcohol or low-alcohol.
You can try different types to find your favorite.
Preparing your mead to serve is simple – open the bottle, pour into glasses, and let those present enjoy. If the mead is sweet, consider adding a splash of lemon or lime juice to add a bit of zing. For carbonated mead, pour slowly to avoid a foam buildup over the glass.
Topped off with some festive decorations like mistletoe or fresh herbs for added ambiance, you’ve now created the perfect Christmas atmosphere for sipping this traditional beverage.
Is drinking mead healthy?
Mead is an ancient alcoholic beverage that is made from fermenting honey, water, and yeast. It tends to have an ABV (alcohol by volume) range of 6-18%, and it can be flavored with herbs and spices.
Though mead has been around for centuries, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it has major health benefits. Drinking any alcoholic beverage in moderation can provide some limited benefits such as improved mood, but research into the more specific benefits of mead (such as a possible antioxidant content) is lacking.
Due to the alcohol content in mead, it can be unhealthy for some people if consumed in excess. The high sugar content can also be a concern for those at risk of developing diabetes. Of course, it also carries the general risks of drinking alcohol such as a heightened risk of cancer and liver problems.
In summary, while moderate drinking of mead can provide some limited benefits, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it has particular health benefits that other alcoholic beverages do not offer.
Additionally, it is important to keep in mind the risks associated with consuming too much alcohol.
What does mead taste like?
Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water, so it has a taste similar to a slightly sweet white wine. Many people liken the flavor of mead to a light or sweet champagne. It is typically slightly fruity with notes of honey and floral aromas, but depending on the seasonings and ingredients used to make it, mead can also taste spicy, herbal, or like a dry wine.
Fortunately, there are many varieties to enjoy, so it’s easy to find one to fit your taste preferences.
How is mead different than wine?
Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from honey, water, and yeast, whereas wine is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of grapes. Both beverages have been around for thousands of years and have a significant place in the history of many cultures.
The main difference comes down to their base ingredients, as mead is made from honey and grapes are used for making wine. Mead can have a wide range of flavors and styles depending on the ingredients used, while wine has a narrower range of flavors and styles.
The production of mead also differs from wine in that it doesn’t require any pressing, filtering, or aging, while wine needs these processes before bottling and drinking. In terms of alcohol content, mead usually comes in at 10-15% ABV while wine is commonly between 11-14%.
While both drinks can be aged, mead typically has a longer shelf life of 2 to 4 years, while wine can last up to 10 years.
Is mead considered wine or beer?
Mead is an alcoholic beverage that can be classified as neither beer nor wine. It is made using the fermentation of honey and water, sometimes with other ingredients added such as spices, fruit or grains.
The resulting alcoholic beverage can range from sweet to dry and from still to sparkling. Mead is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world, with recipes for mead dating back to as far as 7000 BC.
It is still very popular in many foreign cultures today, but has seen a resurgence of popularity in the United States over the past few years.
Why do you put raisins in mead?
Raisins are often added to mead to provide both flavor and sweetness. They also help to boost the alcohol content and add exotic character to the mead. Raisins are rich in minerals, adding nutritive value to the beverage.
Adding raisins also lends body and texture to the flavor of mead. Some homebrewers suggest adding raisins to increase the chances of fermentation, by providing additional nitrogen and sugar to the brew.
Beyond these practical and scientific benefits, many brewers add raisins for the more aesthetically pleasing hue that can be achieved with the addition of the small dried fruit. Both for flavor and for visual effect, raisins are a common addition to mead.
How long to leave raisins in mead?
The answer to this question depends largely on the type of mead you are making and the flavor profile you are after. Generally speaking, if you are making a traditional mead that contains only water, honey, and yeast, raisins may be added to the fermentation process at the same time as the honey.
The addition of raisins will contribute to the complexity and nutty flavor of the mead. If you are looking to not only add complexity but also a sweet/tart/fruity finish to the mead, then the addition of raisins should take place after fermentation has completed.
It is important to note that the raisins need to be boiled in water prior to addition to the mead, and this will add the flavor but also sterile it. For a sweeter raisin flavor, the raisins should be added anywhere from three weeks to three months after fermentation has completed.
For smaller batches, the raisins can be added for a shorter duration, such as two weeks, whereas for larger batches the length should be extended to get the desired effect. In all cases, however, it is important to regularly taste the mead to ensure it does not over-extract the raisin flavor.
Once the desired flavor has been achieved, the raisins should be removed and the mead racked off.
How many raisins should I put in mead?
The amount of raisins you should put in mead will depend on your personal preference and the type of mead you are making. If you are making a sweet mead, adding raisins can give it an extra sweetness and body.
For example, you may want to add 1 to 2 pounds of raisins per gallon of mead. However, if you are making a dry mead, 1/4 to 1/2 a pound per gallon may be more appropriate for a subtle flavor. You can also experiment and adjust to taste.
For example, start with 1/2 a pound, wait a few weeks, do a taste test and then adjust if necessary.
Are raisins good for fermentation?
Yes, raisins are a great option for fermentation. They provide a reliable source of sugar, both fermentable and unfermentable, and the raisin flavor itself is quite complementary to the flavor created from fermentation.
Raisins have a high enough sugar concentration that they can ferment by themselves and make a unique and flavorful beverage. The natural antioxidants present in raisins are known to promote fermentation and help preserve the flavor of the beverage.
It is strongly recommended to use organic raisins though – conventionally grown raisins have a higher pesticide concentration and have higher chances of introducing pathogens into the beverage. Raisins that have been dried for several months are also recommended for fermentation purposes as they have a better sugar concentration.
Can you make mead without raisins?
Yes, you can make mead without raisins. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water, and while raisins are sometimes used to give the mead additional flavor and sweetness, they are not essential to the recipe.
You can make mead with various other ingredients instead of raisins, such as fruits, spices, herbs, and grains, to boost the flavor and complexity. Depending on the exact ingredients you use, you can create a variety of styles of mead, including dry, semi-sweet, and sweet.
Additionally, mead that does not contain raisins can also be carbonated, which is a unique and interesting way to enjoy the beverage.
How can I make my mead stronger?
To make your mead stronger, you’ll need to increase its alcohol content, often called its ABV (alcohol by volume). This can be done through fermentation or by adding additional alcohol such as brandy or whisky.
The easiest way to increase the ABV of your mead is to add more of the same type of honey you’ve used in your initial mead. Start by increasing the amount of honey by a cup or so per gallon and measure the ABV to gauge the strongest mead you can make without it tasting too sweet.
In addition to increasing the honey content, you can add yeast nutrients, often measured in parts per million. Yeast nutrients help the yeast convert sugar into alcohol and can also help your mead to reach a higher ABV.
If you’d like to increase your mead’s ABV even more, you can add additional alcohol, such as brandy or whisky, at the end of the fermentation process. This will effectively increase the ABV of your mead without affecting the flavor.
Finally, you can age your mead in oak barrels. During this process, the yeast will continually consume the sugar, slowly increasing the ABV until the entire sugar content is converted. It’s important to note, however, that aging your mead in oak barrels will influence its flavor, so if you’re trying to maintain the original flavor of your mead – avoid this method.
How many raisins for one gallon of mead?
It largely depends on the recipe you are using, as different recipes will call for different amounts of raisins. Generally, though, when making a gallon of mead, you will usually need around 1-2 pounds of raisins.
You should always refer to the recipe you are using for exact measurements and instructions.