What Is Mead, And How Is It Made?

Mead is an alcoholic drink, (yes, alcoholic! – ranging from 8% to 20% ANV – Alcohol By Volume).  Mead is made by fermenting honey with water.  It is sometimes called ‘honey-wine’.

Mead is also the oldest alcoholic drink known.  The Old English word for mead is ‘meodu’.  The words for honey and mead share a single root word 'medhu' across the range of Indo-European languages.

Below, I feature a simple recipe, but there are many variations. 

Mead is generally thought of as a simple sweet alcoholic drink, yet it can actually be made to be taste 'dry', and there are many variations. 

Fruits, herbs and spices can all be added to mead to create complex layers of flavours.

If you are interested in making mead, a very good book with recipes is The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations. It also provides some historical information about mead.

Or altenatively, Make Mead Like a Viking: Traditional Techniques for Brewing Natural, Wild-Fermented, Honey-Based Wines and Beer.

In truth, it is probably better to read about the subject first, rather than risk wsting our ingredients.

How To Make Mead

Before you make mead, I recommend you try it first, to ensure you like it!  Also, do take into account that the mead will need a year to mature, and you’ll need clean, sterilized bottles.


5 litres (1.1 gallons) of water

Juice of 1 lemon

2½ lbs of honey – the type of honey you select will subtly affect the taste of the mead

1 teaspoon wine yeast

1 vitamin C tablet

Spices can also be added – such as cloves or cinnamon.  Mead with added spices is called a 'methgelin'.


  • Boil the water, honey, lemon juice and vitamin C in a pan.
  • Leave the liquid to cool, then transfer to a sterilized demijohn.  Add the wine yeast and seal, using a sterilized airlock. 
  • After about 2 weeks, and after fermentation has taken place, siphon off the liquid into another sterilized demi-john, and store in a cool, dark, place.
  • When the liquid is clear, it can be poured into bottles.  Allow it to mature for a year before drinking.

If you would like to try mead before making it, bottles of mead are available on Amazon, then you might like to try one of these:

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