What is Mead? Everything You Need to Know

What is mead?

If you have never heard of mead and you are standing here questioning yourself, what is mead? Then let me tell you, mead is sweet alcohol made out of ratios of honey and water according to the specified proportions. Meads vary in their alcoholic percentages, not all meads are strong nor are all meads light. 

The alcoholic percentage of mead varies between as low as 5 percent to as high as 20 percent. Meads come in different forms and multiple meads taste different on the platter, some meads are very sweet, some or moderately sweet and decent to drink, some are very dry, some rare kinds are carbonated as well. 

Usually, the staple mead is of still nature. Meads vary on the kind of honey that goes into making it and also on the kind of water that goes into making it. Asian subcontinent, African peninsula, and European nations are where the first mead was made in the olden days. 

According to Greek Mythology, Mead was considered to be a holy drink that had healing properties and is also stated to be consumed by the gods. Mead is also popularly known as honey wine, due to which mead was also produced in an advanced fruity version especially berries really making it sweet honey wine. 

what is mead

Origin of Mead

If I time travel to ancient Europe or ancient Asia and ask people from those times what is mead? they will probably laugh at me. Mead has been quite a popular drink all across the eastern continents for ages. 

The first references of mead being made in the Chinese books dating back to 7000 BCE and also the ancient Indian scriptures dated back to 1100 BCE mentioned the consumption of sweet alcoholic beverage similar to mead which was called Soma. There were also references of similar drinks in the ancient European nations dating back to 2800 BCE.

Health benefits of Mead

Surprisingly mead comes with a ton of health benefits, a few of them being-

  • Antibiotic Honey
    First thing first, the main ingredient that goes into making mead is the most nutrient filled ingredient. What is mead without honey? The quality of honey that goes into the preparation of mead is what decides if it is healthy in the first place, as good quality honey is very good for health.

    Although a form of sugar it is still not sugar and is better than the sugary alcoholic drinks. In ancient times mead was considered medicinal just because of the honey component in it.
  • Zero Gluten
    Almost all the meads and fruit based drinks are gluten free. Gluten is simple terms is the binding agent that holds powdered grains together. Not everyone is tolerant to gluten, gluten can cause digestive and skin related issues to people who are not tolerant to it.

    Most of the strong alcohols are made out of grains, for those who are gluten intolerant mead is a great alternate option as all the ingredients that go into making mead contain zero gluten.
  • Fermentation means Probiotics
    Probiotics are very good for your gut health, in fact experts suggest taking about 3 servings of probiotics in a day. Excess fermentation that goes into making mead produces a lot of probiotics, when these probiotics are consumed in decent quantities these help in healing the gut.

    Probiotics simply are the good bacteria that help keep our gut healthy. So the next time you have overdosed on mead, do not feel bad as it is not going to cause any harm to your stomach.

Popular Meads across world

  • Bais– Bais is a mead made in the Philippines. Bais is a mixture of honey and water left to ferment for more than a month. Another alcoholic beverage of a similar name Basi is also a special drink in the Philippines, it is made out of sugarcane.
  • Bochet– Bochet is a mead made in France. Caramelized honey goes into making Bochet. Bochet’s are also made out of berries. Bochet’s usually yield a darker color mead.
  • Czworniak– Czworniak is a mead made in Poland. Czworniak consists of close to 18% of alcohol content, similar to the rest of meads it is also made out of mixing honey and water in required proportions and left to ferment.
  • Kabarawan– Kabarawan is a mead made in the Philippines. A lot of homemade meads or other alcoholic beverages can be seen made in the eastern nations. The name Kabarawan came from the Kabarawan tree whose bark’s paste goes into fermenting the mead along with honey.
  • Melomel– Melomel is a mead made in Spain and France. Melomel is the kind of mead which is usually made out of fruits- berries to be precise. The fruits that usually go in making alcoholic beverages are usually berries. The one made with grape juice in particular is called Pyment.
  • Mulsum– Mulsum is a mead made in Italy. Mulusum is sweetened wine which is usually sweetened with honey and was consumed in the courts of ancient rome.
  • Poltorak– Poltorak is a mead made in Poland. It is an 18% alcohol content alcoholic beverage. Poltorak is fermented into a rich bright orangish red drink, which comes in 4 different variants depending on the honey water mixture ratio.
  • Tej– Tej is a mead made in Ethiopia. The highest alcohol content noticed in Tej is 11%. Gesho, honey and water are the components that go into making Tej. It is brewed at home and is consumed as a celebratory drink.
  • Chouchenn– Chouchenn is a mead made in the Brittany region of France. Chouchenn contains 14% of alcohol which is more than that of standard beer. Apple cider and honey are the two main components that go into making Chouchenn.
  • Sima– Sima is a mead made in Finland. Sima is more like a refreshing festive drink, it is not fermented for a longer time and hence the level of alcohol produced is low. Many ingredients go into making Sima- honey, lemon, raisins, water, yeast in required proportions.

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