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Mead: Home Brewed Honey-Wine

mead

A recipe for, and overview of, mead

Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, and frequently fruits, spices, grains or hops. (Hops act as a preservative and produce a bitter, beer-like flavor.) The alcoholic content of mead may range from about 8% ABV to more than 20%. The defining characteristic of mead is that the majority of the beverage’s fermentable sugar is derived from honey.  It may be still, carbonated, or naturally sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.

A Homemade Orange Mead.
A Homemade Orange Mead.

Mead is known from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. “It can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks,” Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has speculated, “antedating the cultivation of the soil.” Hornsey considers archaeological evidence of it ambiguous, however McGovern and other archaeological chemists consider the presence of beeswax markers and gluconic acid, in the presence of other substances known to ferment, to be reasonably conclusive evidence of the use of honey in ancient fermented beverages.

Claude Lévi-Strauss makes a case for the invention of mead as a marker of the passage “from nature to culture.” Mead has played an important role in the beliefs and mythology of some peoples. One such example is the Mead of Poetry, a mead of Norse mythology crafted from the blood of the wise being Kvasir which turns the drinker into a poet or scholar. The terms “mead” and “honey-wine” are often used synonymously.

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Steep a Perfect Cup of Tea

But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.
-Mansfield Park

A perfect pot of tea does not begin with a mug of hot water and tea bag. The perfect pot takes time and careful planning.

  1. Start with a preheated pot or cup. This prevents the tea cooling too quickly. To warm the it, pour boiling water into the pot, swish it around, and pour it out again.
  2. Use freshly drawn or bottled, not reboiled water.
  3. Bring water to a rolling boil for approximately 10 seconds. Remove kettle from heat. Don’t boil the water for too long as this will boil away the flavour-releasing oxygen.
  4. Wait until the water is just off the boil before pouring it onto the tea. This brings out the rich aroma and avoids scorching the tea.
  5. Use one tea bag per person, or Start with 3/4 of a level teaspoon of loose tea per 6 oz. of water.
  6. Steep for 3-5 minutes, according to taste. If possible, cover the teapot with a towel or tea cosy while steeping to retain heat. Remove the tea bags or leaves
  7. If you would like to add milk (milk, not cream) pour it in the cup or mug before adding the hot tea as this will allow the milk to better blend with the tea without curdling.
  8. Sweeten as preferred or serve with a slice of lemon. Infuse (steep) green tea for two minutes, semi-black tea for seven minutes, unless instructed otherwise based on the tea you have purchased. Both may be infused several times, depending on the tea you have purchased. Though they may be slightly more expensive than black tea by weight measurement, Green and Semi-black are ultimately less costly due to the number of times the leaf may be infused.

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