Mead or "Honey Wine" (a misnomer), is the oldest fermented drink known to man. It has been around since man came across the first honey tree, that had flooded and then fermented, smelled OH SO GOOD and tasted even better. * True or not that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Honey-based beverages trace their way back to civilizations including the Egyptians, Greeks, Celts, and Mayans.
In the Nordic Countries the oldest known written recipe is from 1520 by the Archbishop Olas Magnus.
The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7,000 B.C. Having roots throughout Europe, Africa and Asia. Notall meads are created equal. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made with honey as the primary ingredient, with water and yeast added for the fermentation. True meads have one key thing in common, the primary ingredient is honey. There are places that will take white wine and flavor or 'back feed' with honey to try and pass this off as Mead, it is not. Honey is many times more expensive than grapes to use as an ingredient. Only with a true mead will you get the flavors that have made mead so legendary. Mead can be dry, medium, or sweet just like grape and other wines. It can also have many different fruits or spices added to it to create different flavors and aromas. These different types of mead all have special names. The one thing that never changes is that the primary ferment is always honey.
There are many different recipes for mead. Depending on the things added during the fermentation process and proportions of honey and water the names can vary greatly.
What Kinds of Mead are There?
Mead Styles (Some common ones)
Mead - made with honey, water and yeast
Sack Mead - a sweeter Mead, with more honey
Melomel - honey with fruit or fruit juice
Metheglin - honey with spices and extracts
Acerglyn - honey with maple syrup
Morat - honey with mulberries
Pyment - with both honey and grapes
Hippocras - with honey, grapes and spices
Cyser - honey and apples* or apple cider *Can also be made with peach, cherry or pear cider.
Braggot - honey and malt, sort of a Mead-Beer
Oxymel - Mead mixed with wine vinegar
Rhodomel - honey with Attar, a rose petal distillate, or rose petals
Capsicumel - honey with chile peppers
Omphacomel - Mead and Verjuice, the juice of unripe grapes
T'ej - with honey, water and hops. It is the national drink of Ethiopia, and has a unique taste.
As you can see there are many different types of Mead. The list can go on as long as your imagination can come up with things to try. The only rule is that the primary ferment be honey for it to be a Mead.
Other Country's Names for Mead
Aguamiel - Spanish mead
Balche - Mayan mind altering mead made with balche bark.
Chouchen - Breton ( France ) mead
Hidromel - Portuguese mead
Hydromel - French mead
Idromele - Italian mead
Med - Bulgarian and Ukranian mead
Meddeglyn or myddyglyn - Welsh spiced mead
Mede - Dutch mead
Medovina - Czech and Slovak mead
Medovukha - Russian mead
Medu - Ancient? German mead
Medus - Lithuanian and/or Latvian honey
Meis - Eritrean mead
Meodu - Old English word for mead
Met - German mead
Midus - Lithuanian mead
Miod - Polish mead
Mjod - Danish and Norwegian mead
Mjod - Swedish mead
Modu - Estonian honey beer
Nabidh - Arabic mead
Sima - Finnish mead
T'ej - Ethiopian mead (since about 400BC)
Ydromeli - Greek mead Some other not so common names for mead
Madhu - from the Sanscrit Vedas Nectar or Ambrosia - from the Greek and Roman mythologies
Alu - Prussian for mead
Methe - Ancient Greek for mead
Mede - Frisian, and low German
Metu or Mitu - Old High German
Meth - German
Melikatos - old Greek (morphed into hydromeli in present)
*Name research and information courtesy of Forrest Scott of the Mead Maker's Page, and Vicky of GotMead.com