Spiced mead is a mixture of honey, water, and yeast, but with a twist. How to make spiced mead is very similar to brewing base mead. The only difference is the spices added to it, which significantly impact the mead’s flavor, taste, and color.
Mead that contains spices is called metheglin. You can create spiced mead by adding spices, herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables to your regular mead. You can also use nuts, chocolate, and coffee to give your favorite drink a fresh, new zest.
Here are five simple spiced mead recipes that you can try making at home.
1. Ancient Orange and Spice Mead
This mead recipe by Joe Mattioli, the well-renowned mead maker who has created numerous award-winning meads, is ideal for beginners who would like to try brewing mead for the first time. Most of its ingredients you can find in your kitchen, and preparing it does not require too much equipment. So if you want your mead with some tanginess of orange, try this recipe now.
This recipe is for preparing one gallon of mead. If you’d like to make larger batches, you need to scale up the ingredients, making sure they are in the same proportions.
- 3 ½ lbs. Honey
- 1 gal Water
- 1 Large orange
- 1 Small handful of raisins
- 1 Stick of cinnamon
- 1 Whole clove
- A pinch of nutmeg and allspice (optional)
- 1 tsp. Fleischmann’s bread yeast
How to Make
- Dissolve the honey in warm water.
- Pour the dissolved honey into a clean one-gallon carboy.
- Rinse the orange thoroughly to remove any pesticide before slicing it in eights (or smaller). Then put them inside the carboy, rinds included.
- Add in raisins, clove, cinnamon stick, and other optional ingredients.
- Fill the glass jug up to three inches from the top with cold water. The extra space will provide room for some foam.
- Put the cap on and shake the carboy to aerate the mixture.
- After checking and ensuring that you have room temperature (about 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius), add one teaspoon of bread yeast to the mixture. No need to rehydrate it.
- Swirl gently.
- Place the fermentation airlock and put the carboy in a cool, dark place. It should start the fermentation immediately or after an hour.
- When major foaming stops (typically, after a few days), add some water and leave it for two months and a few days until it clears and the oranges sink to the bottom of the jug.
- Put a hose with a filter on one end into the clear part and siphon off your first home-brewed spiced mead.
2. Lemon Ginger Mead
This spiced mead recipe by Frank Golbeck, the founder of Golden Coast Mead, will make five gallons of delicious mead. A favorite late-summer drink, the combination of lemon and ginger is both refreshing and stimulating. Try this simple guide on how to make spiced mead and enjoy a burst of flavors and aromas.
- 1 gal Honey, light amber wildflower
- 4 gal Spring water
- 12” Ginger, grated
- 6 Lemons, juiced with pulp
- 2 packets of White Labs WLP001 California Ale or Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast
How to Make
- Boil one gallon of water in a large stockpot.
- After turning off the heat, add the grated ginger and let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Stir in the honey until it dissolves completely.
- Add the lemon juice and pulp.
- Let the mixture cool down to room temperature.
- Pour the must into a five-gallon carboy.
- Shake vigorously to aerate the must.
- Pour the remaining three gallons of water. Make sure to shake the carboy after adding each gallon.
- Leave enough headspace for fermentation (usually, two inches).
- Shake the carboy as vigorously as you can.
- After measuring the gravity, add the yeast by following the package instructions.
- Install the airlock and let the mixture ferment at room temperature for two to three weeks.
- Move the mixture to another carboy for racking.
- Once the mead clears and reaches final gravity, you can start bottling.
- Let the mead age in the bottle for at least ten days (the longer, the better).
- Serve chilled.
3. Spiced Fig Mead
Here’s another interesting spiced mead recipe that you might want to home-brew. Fig is known for its many health benefits. Packed with nutrients, it assists in metabolism and energy production. It is also helpful in reducing the risk of heart diseases and managing blood sugar levels.
This recipe will yield one gallon of delicious and healthy spiced mead that you can enjoy every day.
- 2 lbs. Honey
- 1 gal Spring water
- 2 lbs. Fresh figs
- 1 Organic lemon, zested and sliced
- Vanilla bean
- 2 Cinnamon sticks, chopped
- 1 tsp. Nutmeg
How to Make
- Put all ingredients into the primary fermenter.
- Move to the secondary fermenting bucket after ten days, removing the figs and cinnamon sticks.
- Install the airlock and let it ferment for two months.
- Perform racking.
- Ferment for another two months and rack again.
- Let it ferment for two more months before bottling. Remember to rack again before transferring the mixture to bottles.
- For the best result, let the mead age for a year.
4. Black Spiced Mead
If you want to take your home brewing to another level, you should try this spiced mead recipe. Instead of regular honey, it uses caramelized honey, which gives it the black coloring. This recipe will require a lot of honey and extra time, but it will yield five gallons of dark, flavorful liquid goodness.
- 18 lbs. Caramelized honey
- 5 gal Spring water (1 gallon warm)
- 2 ½ tsp. Cream of tartar
- 1 oz. Cardamom
- 1 oz. Ginger root, peeled and grated
- 1 oz. Tellicherry black peppercorns, whole
- 1 packet of Lalvin EC-1118 (Champagne yeast)
- Yeast nutrients
How to Make
- In a large pot, boil the honey for three hours until it caramelizes. Stir constantly and keep the caramelized honey hydrated as it will harden at room temperature.
- Once caramelized to your liking, let the bubbles settle in. As the black honey cools down, gradually add one gallon of warm water and keep stirring.
- Then, add three more gallons of water, this time cold, to allow it to cool down to room temperature.
- Pour the must into a five-gallon carboy and pitch the yeast.
- Fill the carboy with spring water up to the neck.
- Add yeast nutrients. This recipe recommends that you do this three times:
- first, after pitching the yeast;
- second, after 24 hours; and
- third, midway through fermentation.
- After the primary fermentation (typically, about five days), rack the mixture into a fermentation bucket, then back into the carboy for secondary fermentation.
- Add the Tellicherry black peppercorns, peeled and grated ginger roots, and cardamom to taste. Leave it for about three days.
- Rack again and allow it to ferment.
- During secondary fermentation, rack as you see fit.
- This recipe recommends using finings eight weeks before bottling to clarify your mead. Just boil finings with water and add the boiling water to the fermenter.
5. Vodka-Infused Chocolate Spiced Mead
To continue your spiced mead explorations here’s another unique recipe worth trying. Infused with vodka and added with chocolate, this recipe offers three gallons of intense flavors to stimulate the palate.
- 11 lbs. Wildflower honey
- 3 gal Water
- 3 oz. Cacao nibs, lightly toasted
- Peppermint vodka
- 15 g Côte des Blancs wine yeast
- Yeast rehydration agent
- Yeast nutrients
- Stabilization additives
How to Make
- Make must by mixing the honey and water.
- Add yeast nutrients.
- Pitch the yeast after rehydrating it according to the package instructions.
- Ferment the must.
- Once the fermentation is complete, you can rack and stabilize the mead using the stabilization additives.
- Add the cacao nibs and let the chocolate flavor steep in the mead for several weeks.
- Once you can taste the mead’s chocolate flavor, rack the mead and remove the cacao nibs.
- Add the peppermint vodka. You can put as much as you want.
When it comes to making spiced mead, there is a broad spectrum of flavorings that you can experiment with. You can start with these simple recipes at the comforts of your home, then create your version later on. Although each variety provides a different sensory experience, how to make spiced mead remains the same. It only requires a little bit of creativity and a lot of patience.
Let us know in the comments which of these spiced mead recipes you like most. And feel free to share these recipes with your fellow mead brewers.