Mead (medovukha in Russian) is a traditional Russian low-alcohol beverage made of naturally fermented bee honey. Its main ingredients are water, honey and yeast, with the optional addition of berries and fruits, herbs, spices, and alcohol depending on the recipe.
Typically, its potency varies from 9 to 14 % ABV and depends on the initial amount of honey, the duration of ageing, the temperature of infusion, and added ingredients.
Honey drinks and honey-making have been spread since the times of Old Russia. According to the old yeast-free technology, the honey drink had to be aged for decades in oak barrels placed in glaciers and cellars or buried in the ground. At that time, no holiday was complete without this sweet exhilarating drink.
However, from the XV-XVII centuries, vodka and wine began to supplant mead in Russia. The ancient honey beverage was revived by the end of the XIX century and acquired its modern characteristics. Today mead (medovukha in Russian) is considered the national drink of Russia, and the places famous for the best Russian honey wine are Suzdal and Nizhny Novgorod.
What Mead Tastes Like
Honey drink can be of various shades depending on the color and type of honey, the method of preparation and additional ingredients (such as berries, for example). Medovukha is usually a clear transparent liquid with a slight golden yellow or amber tint. Those who know about mead only by hearsay may mistakenly believe that it is similar to a sweet syrupy liqueur.
In fact, the classical honey drink is quite liquid and tastes more like wine. The level of sweetness differs from recipe to recipe: medovukha can remind of a dry, semi-sweet or sweet wine. Berries, herbs and spices definitely contribute to the final taste and aroma of the drink.
Varieties of Mead
There are several types of medovukha, including the main ones, such as:
*Boiled Medovukha – it is made by way of fermenting boiled honey;
* Aged Mead - it is the most ancient variety and employs neither yeast nor boiling of honey. Fermentation was prompted with the help of bee bread, sourdough, or hops. However, being expensive and time consuming, this method has not been used for a long time;
* Hop Mead – it is prepared with the help of hop to speed up the fermentation processes;
* Alcohol Free Mead;
* Semblant Mead – it has lots of additional components, such as fruits, berries, spices, herbs, etc.
Composition and Benefits of Mead
This exhilarating sweet drink is full of salutary properties; the total amount of which depends on the composition, though.
The drink is rich in vitamins (C, E, A, PP, group B), micro- and macronutrients (potassium, sodium, phosphorus, chlorine, magnesium, and copper). Mead owes most of its properties to honey, which is famous for bactericidal, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory effects.
In general, this exotic Russian drink is toning and invigorating, with a positive effect on the nervous system.
Medovukha should be avoided by children and pregnant women, as well as diabetic patients and those allergic to honey.
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Author: Vera Ivanova