I love mead, unfortunately it's hard to come by where I live and the prospect of driving for an hour each way to the closest Total Wine & More has never been appealing or feasible. For those of you who don't have access to the equipment typically needed to brew mead (glass carboy, airlock) or don't have the patience to mess with the six month process of observation and babysitting the mead as it ferments, this is really an excellent alternative. In fact, I prefer my own mead to the brands carried locally; so much so that I can't really stand the taste of those anymore!
I can't claim the method as my own, because I got the idea from a website... somewhere. It's been awhile.
This mead will be ready to drink in two weeks, though you can let it sit for longer if you choose to use it as a base for more elaborate potions. The alcohol, pinot grigio and honey are good at masking even the most obnoxious tasting botanicals!
This recipe is for the base mead, you could also add fruit slices or berries if you wanted to go beyond the basics and get crafty! Mulling spice packs can also be added if you like that taste, and it's a lovely treat for family and friends over the holidays. Just read the pack instructions to see how many ounces of brew each pack is good for. Experiment and have fun, it's seriously difficult to screw this up!
You will need:
- 1 liter bottle of a cheap white wine (I use the Rex Goliath pinot grigio; and I actually recommend that you use a pinot grigio to let the spices and honey stand out if you're going to stick to a basic mead or one crafted for a spell. Sauvignon blancs tend to be crisper, so bear that in mind as it's the best choice if you want to add fruit to this recipe! I have not tried using chardonnay, but it's buttery, oakey and would probably taste rich. Rieslings are way too sweet with the honey, blech!)
- 1 pound of honey - NOT creamy honey; I use clover honey and it works fine
- 1-2 cloves - pounded in a mortar (not to powder, just to smash a bit to release oil and flavor)
- Cinnamon stick
- 1 tbs. Orange peel
- A pinch of nutmeg
Throw that pot on the stove!
- Empty the wine and honey into the pot. Heat gently (medium heat; dialing back if it starts to boil) and keep stirring.
- After the honey has dissolved/melted, add your spices and keep stirring.
- Roots can be added at this time, if you have a potion in mind.
- A scummy substance will form on the surface; skim it off and throw it away.
- After you've skimmed away all of the scum (it takes around 30 - 45 minutes sometimes!)pour the brew back into the bottle, unless...
- You have some leafy botanicals that you'd like to add, in which case now would be a good time to do so and allow them to simmer for a bit; dial the heat down to low. I usually give those about 10 minutes on the heat before I pull it.
- Bottle it, cap it, and store it for a minimum of two weeks. If you're like me you probably want to take the bottle out during the evenings and shake it to reinforce your intent. If it's just for drinking you can leave it be.
- Two weeks is the minimum, but the longer you allow the mead to rest, the stronger and more robust the flavor profile will be. Put it in the fridge after you pop the cork.
That's all she wrote! I hope you enjoy making and drinking this as much as I have!