Mead Cocktails: A Throwback to Ancient Civilizations

Mead

Mead, a drink that dates back to 1700-1100 BC, is made by fermenting honey with water and various fruits, spices, grains or hops to enhance the flavor. Traces of its production and use were found in ancients sites in China, Greece, and many areas of Europe.

Traditionally, mead is enjoyed just like a desert wine, port, or cordial. “Meaning that is served neat in a cordial flute, desert wine snifter, or Nick and Nora style glassware,” says Eric Brooks, Bartender at CBD Provisions in Dallas. Brooks has recently caught wind of the spike in demand for this ancient drink and has begun to develop many cocktails utilizing it. “It is perfect for an after dinner drink to replace desert after having a large meal.”

Interest in mead has increased in recent years

Mead is as old as it gets; when it comes to trends, especially in craft cocktails, the older the better. “Over the years, forgotten alcoholic beverages have resurfaced and have been reintroduced to markets constantly looking for something new, or I guess old but new,” says Brooks. Mead is gaining in popularity because it has started to be discovered by a generation of drinkers who enjoy a good throw back. “Everyone wants to be the first to get their hands on it and be the first ones to offer/work with this product.” A distribution company brought mead to CBD and they instantly like it and wanted to implement it into their cocktail program.

Related: The Whisky Renaissance: Not Your Dad’s Scotch 

How do we use mead in cocktails?

Brooks likes to use mead as a modifier in drinks as an enhancer or a pairing. “At the moment I think mead can go well with any base spirit, it’s just all about proportions and quality of product.” Mead pairs well with sherry and other fortified wines. “I’m still experimenting and you might see it in a winter cocktail very soon.”

Brooks developed a mead cocktail called “Sherry Meads a Drink”. The cocktail is made with Dry Sack Sherry, Moonlight Meadery Mead, Bigallet China China (French Aperitif), simple syrup, and garnished with both lemon and an orange wedge.

“Sherry Meads a Drink” was a cocktail Brooks always wanted to create. But, he ran into some obstacles when CBD first opened. “I went to a great cocktail bar here in Dallas and had a sherry cobbler style drink and I thought it was really nice, so I decided to create one at my bar.” Cobbler drinks traditionally have some sort of fresh berries to give them a nice fruit forward beginning to help ease into the base spirit used. “At CBD I could not use out of season berries, so I had to find another alternative.” He needed something that would give a nice fruit presence but also something that wasn’t overly sweet. “When we picked up the mead I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. So I would have to say that the sherry does enhance the flavor by giving the drink a nutty/fruity flavor profile.”