Archaeological evidence puts mead as being one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world after traces of the honey-based drink were found in China from over 9,000 years ago. This means mead has been enjoyed by some of history’s ancient civilisations, from the ancient Greeks to Norse marauders.
Often referred to as the “Nectar of the Gods”, the golden drink has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years, with the demand from people eager to buy mead reaching new heights, which has certainly kept us busy! We have been perfecting our fantastic meads for over 15 years now, and often experiment with new and bold flavours to push the boundaries of what is possible with mead.
Here, we have looked at how to enjoy mead, from serving size suggestions to drinking temperature, and even the glassware you are best to enjoy it from!
What is Mead?
In the simplest of terms, mead is essentially a honey wine. It is honey and water that is fermented with yeast and can also be flavoured with a range of fruits, hops, or spices and comes in both still and sparkling form.
What Temperature Should Mead Be Drunk At?
Mead can be enjoyed either hot or cold, so the serving temperature will depend on which way you are looking to enjoy your beverage.
If you are drinking cold mead, it is best served at 12 – 16°C, as this is when the best tones of the drink are revealed. To get it to this temperature, store your mead in the fridge and before serving, allow it to sit in the glass for a few minutes at room temperature. It will not reach room temperature in that time, but it also won’t be too cold.
However, we would also recommend trying some of our fruiter flavours, such as our Black Cherry mead, served over ice for a refreshing drink!
Mead can also be enjoyed warm up, and it makes for a warming treat when the weather starts to get colder, particularly when we have varieties such as Christmas Mead for you to enjoy. The ideal temperature for serving hot mead is 50 – 55°C, but you should be careful not to overheat it. If mead reaches 60°C or above, it will start to foam and then rapidly lose flavour, leaving you with an unpleasant taste in your mouth!
You should only heat the amount of mead that you are going to consume there and then. If a large amount of mead is heated and you don’t serve it immediately, it can lose its quality and taste very quickly.
How Should You Drink Mead?
However you want to enjoy your mead is up to you – you could mix your mead in a cocktail, by just pouring some into a glass and drinking it normally or even straight out the bottle – the choice is entirely yours (although the latter might be frowned upon!)
But in a similar way to wine, there is a process you can follow to really explore the depths of your mead, which we have outlined below:
Pour a small amount of mead into a glass and swill around the glass, where you should notice that it leaves behind a coating on the side of the glass.
Swill the mead around slightly and inhale to experience the balance of tones and the unique aroma that comes with the beverage. It will not be a one-sided fragrance, but rather a variety of tones. Different ingredients used in the flavouring of the mead will also add new layers to the scent.
For your first taste, you should slowly drink your first mouthful and try to isolate the individual flavours which come to mind. Roll the mead around your mouth so it covers all parts of your tongue, and then swallow. This part is called the ‘body’.
The flavours of the mead can and often will develop with every sip, and you will notice this most after swallowing and exhaling – known as the ‘tail’. The more sips you take, the more the flavours and sensations will develop.
Is there a certain type of glass that you should drink mead from? Well, the suggestion is often to enjoy cold mead from a clear, stemmed wine glass (one for white wine or port) and hot mead in a whisky glass. However, if you wanted to channel your inner Viking and drain your mead from a drinking horn, we won’t stop you!
What Is the Suggested Serving of Mead?
The suggested serving of mead will usually depend on the strength of the product in question, as the alcoholic strength can range from 3.5% ABV to more than 18%. Our Lyme Bay meads range from our 4% sparkling mead (which comes perfectly portioned in our cans) to our 14.5% bottles of Traditional, West Country and Waking The Demon meads – the latter made especially for the band Bullet For My Valentine.
So how much mead should you serve in a glass? If you are drinking your mead warmed up, we would recommend around 50ml of mead in a whisky glass. If you are drinking it cool, we would say between 100 – 125ml, mirroring a traditional small glass of wine serving.
We hope our guide has given you some inspiration for experimenting with your mead, however you choose to consume it. As ever, head over to our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages and share your mead experiences with us!