My love affair with wine runs deep because it is an easy way of embracing another culture. It is expressive and tastes like the soil, water, and fruit of a region. You know when you’re drinking German wine because it tastes like Germany. But even more so, wine is a form of history. However, it is not the original innovation of alcoholic beverages.
It is estimated that wine has been around since before Roman times, but its predecessor honey wine – after having fallen into the background for many years – is now making a comeback. Some of the first traces of alcoholic beverages ever found were fermented fruits and honey. Honey wine, or mead as it is more commonly referred to today, was a popular beverage as early as 7000 BCE in Northern China and was the preferred drink during the golden age of ancient Greece (take that Dionysus!).
However, it also played an important role in Europe during the Renaissance. French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss made the case that mead is responsible for bringing humans from cavemen to civilized people. Today, although it is likely you would get the opportunity to down a glass of the sweet libation while dressed like a Viking, it is just as easy to find mead at a local bar or restaurant. But if elves, fairies and klingons interest you, here’s a list of Ohio Renaissance events.
A few years ago, many of my friends started getting married and I started handing out bottles of mead as wedding gifts. Despite the perplexed looks on my friend’s faces when they saw the uncommon gift of bottled fermented fruit, they appreciated the gesture once I explained that the origin of the word “honeymoon” refers to the act of giving newlyweds enough mead or “honey wine” to last them one full cycle of the moon! According to tradition, the bride and groom drink a cup of mead for thirty days following their wedding to symbolize a period of harmony following marriage.
While the venerable grape is always there for you, and grain no doubt produces some of our favorite beverages, don’t forget that you can ferment just about anything with enough patience and a proper dose of imagination. This recipe from The Joy of Mead is basic and simple for anyone interested in making mead at home.
I like to leave the concocting up to the experts at Brother’s Drake, a locally invested meadery that “works to source the most local, pure, organic and fresh ingredients to craft its meads,” and take on searching out perfect pairing items as my personal project.
Dry mead such as Brother’s Drake Scarlett Solstice is great on a hot summer day with a peppery arugula salad with fresh berries, toasted nuts, creamy goat cheese and a Dijon vinaigrette.
Remember, when pairing a sweet mead with a dessert, the beverage should always be sweeter than the dessert. Brother’s Drake Wild Ohio mead would be a delicious accompaniment to this Honey-Ricotta Cheesecake, or get a little wild and serve it with a spicy sushi or a fiery Mexican dish.
The pairing options are endless, but one of the best ways to drink mead is alone! Enjoy a bottle from Brother’s Drake or from Honeyrun Winery who offers a delicious twist on honey wine by blending in raspberry, cranberry, and elderberry.
Whichever way you enjoy it, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear your favorite ways to indulge in this rediscovered and perfected drink.
Photography by Stephen Davis, Whole Foods Market Dublin Store Artist.
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company’s motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement.