In one of the sweetest, most unexpected developments in the modern drinks industry, mead has made a syrupy return. That’s right, the fermented honey drink of Old English legends and Norse mythology — forgotten for almost 600 years — has inexplicably found a place behind bars in 2019.
In major cities across the world, dedicated mead bars are popping up — from New York’s All-Wise Meadery to London’s Gosnells Mead Bar. And, while this medieval drink’s renaissance has been variously attributed to factors from pure novelty to Game of Thrones, we’re inclined to believe that its inimitable flavour could be the reason behind this sudden saccharine return.
And it’s not just bars leaping on the honeyed bottle bandwagon. Wineries and distilleries have also had their eyes pricked to mead’s popularity, and companies are jostling to revive the age-old drink for a modern audience. Here are the brands with the most buzz…
Gosnells Mead is making bubbles from bees
Tom Gosnell spent much of his youth picking and milling apples at a friend’s orchard in Dorset. But, it wasn’t until 2012 that he decided to get into the drinks industry himself. And, after discovering mead while travelling the east coast of the US, he returned to Britain and set up London’s first working meadery in over 500 years.
And, while Gosnells sells traditional meads, it is also spearheading innovation in the sector. Our particular favourites are the Citra Sea, Hopped and Sour meads — slightly sparkling and colourfully canned. Served chilled, they are a refreshing and sweet alternative to wine or beer on a hot summer’s day.
The Cornish Mead Co. is championing cookery and cocktails
Back in 1960, a Cornish family began producing mead-inspired drinks in their back kitchen. Just over 50 years later, the Cornish Mead Co. has pushed past Penzance and is selling its wares across the country — and beyond.
And the brand has also innovated past simple sipping. Preserves and chutneys infused with mead pair wonderfully with meaty mead pies and tarts, and desserts including Mead’on Mess and Mead-misu pair perfectly with a number of mead-based cocktails.
Thanks to its inherent sweetness, mead makes an excellent base to many sweet, stirred and shaken creations. Our favourite recipes from the Cornish Mead Co. are the silkily sweet Harvest Festival, the soft Cherry Mead Sour and the tropical-tinged Caipirimead. Why not buy a bottle now and try them out?
Innovation is making the medieval drink modern
The mead-making doesn’t end there. There are tens of brands across the world carving out their own sweet niche in this newly revived industry. And each of them is approaching the medieval drink in their own distinct way. Despite most meads sitting between 4% and 20% on the ABV scale, Blackheath Mead has partnered with Virginia’s Reservoir Distillery to create a super-strong 50% mead with notes of floral honey and sweet caramel.
In Ireland, Kinsale Mead Co. uses Irish summer wildflower honey from The Chanting Bee Apiary in West Cork to create a range of flavoured meads — with our bottle of choice being the elegant Wildflower Mead. And Mella has rediscovered the lost tradition of infusing mead with berries, using Welsh wildflower honey and ripe raspberries to give its signature bottle a fruity tang.
Reservoir Blackheath Mead
Kinsale Wildflower Mead
Mella Raspberry Mead
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