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Honey Wines are on the Rise


Mead - Meant for More than St. Patty's Day

When St. Patty's day roles around, some local leprechauns may be looking to shake up their green beer traditions with a true Irish treasure – enter Mead. What exactly is Mead? It is a delicious honey wine that is made from fermented honey in lieu of grapes, along with water and yeast and has been enjoyed by Celtic nations for centuries. Mead may be made in a range of styles from dry to off-dry to full on sweet, with some producers bringing fruit, herbs, and even spices into the Mead-making mix. Similar to wine, some Meads are built to age a bit and can end up with a Port or Sherry-like character.

While many countries, have a heritage with honey wine interlaced throughout; Ireland, in particular has had a long-standing love affair with Mead. This famed drink, believed to have been discovered by Irish monks during medieval times, galloped through the social circles of everyone from Irish peasants to Irish Saints and from Noblemen to the High Kings of Ireland. Mead has also enjoyed consistent time in the limelight of both Gaelic poetry and Irish folklore. While there are many variations of Mead, traditional Mead consists of honey and water and often times a bit of yeast. The fermented product, honey wine, offers flavor variations somewhat reminiscent of a Riesling, ranging from pretty sweet to quite dry.

Mead and Celtic Tradition

In Celtic cultures, Mead was believed to enhance virility and fertility, while also contributing supposed aphrodisiac qualities. As a result, Mead quickly found its way into Irish wedding ceremonies. In fact, the term “honeymoon” is believed to have stemmed from the Irish tradition of newlyweds drinking honey wine everyday for one full moon (a month) after their weddings. Today, some Irish weddings still include a traditional Mead toast to the newlyweds as a fair tribute to times and well wishes of both old and new.

Mead Serving Temperatures

Meads can be enjoyed chilled or warmed and are a perfect partnership for chicken or turkey dishes, in addition to being a terrific cap to a St. Patty’s Day meal of corned beef and cabbage or a hearty Irish stew.

Top Mead Recommendations Priced from $10-25

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