Mead, which is also referred to and known as honey wine, is just that. It is produced using honey and a natural fermentation process for the taste to develop as it ages. Mead has been around for centuries.
It is known under its own category or "breed" of liquor and is not categorized as a wine product. Instead, the honey wine, like a cider, is one which falls into its own category due to the fermentation process it takes, which is unique from other liquor fermentation. As it is created by fermenting honey, it differs from traditional wine which is fermented using fruit.
How old is Mead?
It is quite possible that mead, or honey wine, is the oldest known alcoholic beverage on earth. Yes, it has been around that long. Back in 7000 BC, it is suggested that Chinese pottery vessels were used to ferment honey, and the individuals were more than pleased to find out the end product of the fermentation process. Rainwater, which fermented in hives, might also have been a source for the fermentation process to occur during its early stages of production.
It can do More than Provide a Buzz (or hangover for some)
Mead is known or is linked to a medical treatment which dates back several years and was begun in European countries like England. By blending the honey wine with spices and other herbs, or with different fruit varieties, it has been linked to helping aid in the digestive process.
So those suffering from an upset stomach often drank this golden elixir as it has become known over time. It has also been linked to being used to treat depression, and alleviate different types of pain or discomfort (typically stomach related, GI issues). Regardless of whether being used to get a buzz, or simply to help alleviate butterflies in the stomach, mead is a simple solution for both.
Types of Mead
The honey wine will greatly vary in flavor. Why exactly? It's partly due to the fermentation process it takes on but also because of the many different varieties of honey which are used to create the mead. The type of honey used will greatly dictate the flavor which the honey wine is going to take on. Mild, orange blossom honeys are typically used in the production of mead for sweeter varieties. For bolder flavors, the use of blackberry or buckwheat honey is used to create a richer, spiced mead blend during the fermentation process.
No two bottles of honey wine are alike. And, due to the fact that about 2 gallons are required for one bottle, and bees do not produce in nearly such high quantities, every bottle of the sweet, golden elixir, is extremely rare and precious (even today where mass production and factories can produce in far greater quantities than was the case when it was initially introduced as a wine beverage).
Regardless of the desired taste, mead is one of the oldest and one of the most refined blends, for those who are looking for the best of both worlds when it comes to drinking wine or a special drink to toast a particular occasion.