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Mead: Modern Twists on an Ancient Brew

July 4, 2013

When you hear "mead," perhaps you think of medieval monks sipping the sweet honey wine as they pore over illuminated scrolls. In fact, mead's origins are in Africa and Asia, report the experts at Maine Mead Works, "where it was used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes." Now you can pick up a mead kit and make your own batch, then try these summer mead cocktail recipes from Colorado's Redstone Meadery. Meadmosa, anyone? My friend Katie spent two years as a volunteer in Africa. "When I was in Kenya, we made our own mead," she told me. "We made it as a group and added different fruits depending what was available. The orange was my favorite, but we made mango, and it was delicious too." The whole process was very low-tech: The volunteers boiled the brew in a pot over an open flame, for starters. And since most beverages are sold in glass bottles in Kenya, Katie and her friends recycled those bottles, sterilized them by boiling them, and let the mead ferment for several weeks. ("Don't put the top on too tight," she warns. "We had a couple of bottles explode, sending shards of glass flying!") Tempted to try your hand at mead-making? We've a couple of basic mead recipes here, and the Mead Hall has a great collection of information and tips for beginners and experts alike. Photo: baka_san

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