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Mead

Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made of honey, water, and yeast. It is sometimes known as 'honey wine' (for obvious reasons) and is generally pronounced "meed" (to rhyme with "feed") (though South Africans apparently pronounce it "med" (to rhyme with "red").

The word mead refers to the sugary fluid excreted by flowers. In symbology mead is the tipple of the gods.

A mead that also contains spices (like cloves, cinnamon or nutmeg) or herbs (such as oregano or even lavender or chamomile) is called "metheglin". This word is one possible origin for the modern word medicine as healing herbs were often stored as metheglin so they would be available over the winter (as well as making them much easier to go down).

A mead that contains fruit (such as strawberry, blackcurrant or even rose-hips) is called melomel and was also used as a delicious way to "store" summer produce for the winter.

Mulled mead is a popular holiday preparation where mead is warmed with additional spices.

A grape-based wine with added honey is called a "pyment". "Hippocras" is spiced grape wine sweetened with honey.

Mead was very popular in Northern Europe where grapes could not be grown, and faded in popularity once wine importation became economical. Mead was especially popular with the Slavs and was called in Polish miod (pronounced myoot) meaning honey. During the Crusades Polish prince Leszek the White of Poland[?] explained to the pope that Polish knights couldn't participate in the crusades because there is no mead in Palestine.

In Finland a sweet mead called Sima (cognate with zymurgy), is still an essential seasonal brew connected with the Finnish Vappu festival. It is usually spiced by adding both the flesh and rind of a lemon. During secondary fermentation raisins are added to both add a controlled amount of sugars and to act as an indicator of readiness for consumption. (They will rise to the top of the bottle when the process is concluded)

Mead is also the origin for the word honeymoon as the father of the bride was said to give as a dowry a month's supply of the liquor.

Mead shows up in many old north Anglo-Saxon stories, including Beowulf.



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