The oldest known alcoholic beverage, mead, has tantalized alcohol lovers across the world. Known as the “nectar of gods,” mead is not a simple drink, but enjoys a rich share in history, cultures, traditions, and beliefs.
If this golden elixir fascinates you, let us share some fun facts about mead. But before that, let us find out what is mead.
What Is Mead?
Simply put, it is honey wine. It is an outcome of the fermentation of honey and water by yeast. It is flavored with spices, fruits, hops, grains, herbs, etc. It is stronger than beer and has its distinct category. Here are few fun facts about mead that we all should know:
- It is the oldest alcoholic beverage in the whole wide world
Mead has been caressing the taste buds of people since eternity. According to some interesting studies, mead dates back to 7,000 BC. The first evidence of this elixir was found in a Chinese pottery vessel containing residues of honey and organic compounds of fermentation.
Mead has been a drink of choice for Egyptians, Vikings, Mayans, Romans, and Greek. The rich history of mead makes it one of the most enticing drinks today.
- Mead is a distinct category
Just like beer, cider, and wine, mead is categorized as a distinct variety of alcohol. This category entails a plethora of meads. Some most loved meads include a mead featuring herbs and spices, known as “metheglin,” a mead containing fruit, known as “melomel”, an apple-based mead, called “cyser”, an old-world mead containing roses, named “rhodomel”, a mead with maple syrup, known as “acerglyn”, barley or hop-infused mead-beer blend, and many more.
- The flavor of mead depends on the diet of honeybees
If you love the flavor of mead, you should thank honeybee for following a good diet, comprising pollen and nectar. The flavor of mead is determined by the honey used in making it, and the quality and flavor of honey largely depend on the diet of a honeybee.
Mild honey, such as acacia, clover, and orange blossom, is used for making traditional meads, while strong honey, like buckwheat, blackberry, and wildflower, is used for making strong and spiced meads.
- Mead was prescribed as a medicine
The herbs and spices incorporated in the mead make it a good remedy for several health ailments. Sweet meads with herb infusions are known to battle depression, improve digestion, and even help hypochondria.
Although these spiced and herbal meads are no longer prescribed today, there was a time when doctors would prescribe them to their patients in early England.
- It is an important drink for Greeks
Mead is rather seen as an elixir in Greek mythology. Ancient Greeks called it the “nectar of gods”. Greeks believed that this golden elixir is a dew descending from heaven and collected by honeybees.
Several European cultures also associate meads with their religious beliefs. According to some cultures, bees are messengers, and God and meads contain magical powers. They associate meads with mortality, wit, and divine strength.
- Mead is celebrated across the globe
August 3 is celebrated as the National Mead Day in the United States of America. The first Saturday in August is celebrated as World Mead Day.
The Orcas Island Cider & Mead Festival is celebrated in July, whereas the Oregon Honey & Mead Festival is celebrated in May.
- Mead is an aphrodisiac
Gone are the days when oysters would steal the limelight, now mead is the originally appreciated aphrodisiac.
The word honeymoon comes from the medieval tradition entailing mead. After their wedding, the couples were given enough mead to last for a full moon. This drink was believed to help couples in fostering a fruitful union and many children.
The Bottom Line
Although, the popularity of mead has declined over time, it remains a culturally rich drink. If you are still unaware of its delicious taste, it is high time for you to explore it.