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Mead in the UK: the resurgence of medieval honey wine

Posted by Poppy Maderson on September 15, 2014 (0 Comments)

Mead, the fermented honey alcoholic drink which was at the height of its popularity in the middle ages is making a comeback, it seems it is no longer the preserve of medieval re-enactment banquets. And if the volume of mead orders received here at the Fruit Wine Shop are anything to go by, we can attest to this trend. However mention mead to some, they will recoil, imagining a sickly sweet drink. There is so much more to modern mead than this. Ranging from quite dry to dessert wine levels of sweetness, meads can be complex, smooth and with beautifully balanced acidity.

Although the debate rages over which drink was around first; mead or grape wine, there is no denying it's place in ancient history, with the Vikings linking mead to the Gods and poetry. During medieval times, due to the difficulty in getting hold of grapes to make grape wine and the easy accessibility of honey, mead was the main drink of choice. However during Tudor times the drop in popularity of mead was immense. This can be linked to the changes made during the reformation: as the Catholic Church required a large amount of beeswax for their candles, but as Henry VIII reformed religion in the UK, and with the decline of the Catholic Church came a decline in the need for candles, and hence a decline in the by-product of honeyed water, which had been used to produce a large amount of cheap mead.

Perhaps it's the versatility of the drink that is driving it back into vogue, numerous mentions in Harry Potter, or perhaps the popularity of "Game of Thrones" plays a part, although who can explain the vagaries of fashion! At the Fruit Wine Shop, we predict a revolution in mead similar to that already experienced by the beer industry, as craft beers now enjoy unrivalled popularity. American meaderies seem to be currently leading this revolution (with more than 250 meaderies) but the UK certainly matches in terms of quality.

On our site we sell some of our favourites by British producers: Norfolk Mead by Broadland's, Mead Wine by Carr Taylor and English Mead by Lurgashall,

Very enjoyable to drink as an aperitif with a little soda water, on it's own (bring a bottle to a dinner party!), or as an interesting ingredient in a cocktail, why not browse our collection, place an order and try for yourself?

Here's some inspiration for Mead cocktails... tried and tested!

Add freshly squeezed lemon juice, 200ml of mead, lots of ice, diced fresh mint leaves into a cocktail shaker, shake it up, pour into tall glasses and top with soda water.

 

 

 

 

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