First mentioned in documents dating 1700–1100 BC, alcohol produced from fermented honey is one of the oldest drinks in the world and it is still intoxicating the world today. The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7000 BC. Pottery vessels containing a mixture of mead, rice and other fruits along with compounds of fermentation were found in Northern China.
The first several steps in the making of mead are completed by the bees that produce the honey which is later mixed with water and fermented. Meads have similar alcohol strengths to wine usually ranging from 8-17% abv.
Commonly associated with medieval times, mead can often be found at medieval festivals or served piping hot, mulled with spices at traditional European Christmas Markets. In Finland, a sweet mead called 'sima' is still an essential seasonal brew connected with the Finnish Vappu festival. It is usually spiced by adding both the pulp and rind of a lemon.
There is no standard accepted recipe for mead and it can have a wide range of flavours depending on the source of the honey, additives including fruit and spices, the yeast used during fermentation.
Try a little taste of the medieval era and sample some mead today, or if you are ambitious enough you may try making your very own batch of honey-wine.