BVC - Mead Classification -- short meads

Mills, Scott Scott.Mills at
Thu Feb 10 10:57:41 PST 2000

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chuck_CTR_Graves at 
> I appreciate the notes on mead classes...where would you 
> recommend entering a short mead? Refreshingly cloudy.

I am not too fond of the terms "short mead", "quick mead" although for as
long as I can remember they have been in fairly common use in the SCA.
Older texts seem to call them a "small mead" and I guess I prefer the "small
mead" name over the previous two.

My personal experience is that most of what the SCA people would call a
"short mead" is what in the Known World Handbook Sir Michael of York
(Michael Tighe) calls a "weak honey drink" and Digby might have called
it a "small mead".

My initial thought is that these beverages should be placed in whatever of
the previously mentioned mead categories that they best fit i.e..
traditional, melomel, metheglin. With an added category descriptor
indicating this style of drink.  

These drinks to me are significantly different from a more wine-like mead.
They are light and refreshing intended for casual consumption and great as a
pick-me-up on a warm summers afternoon and even better is bottled so that
they become sparkling.  I have personally always thought of them more as a
great period soda-pop.  Make a weak honey drink with sassafras or
wintergreen and you have roughly the period equivalent of modern root beer,
make one with ginger and you have modern ginger ale, use lemon, lime,
orange, and some coriander and you have Sprite or 7-UP.  In fact my root
beer recipe uses honey in almost the same proportions as Digby's weak honey
drink and is flavored with sassafras tea  

I do believe that it is important that they be distinguished from the other
meads so that they can be assessed more fairly and perhaps they deserve a
category all their own.

The Digby recipe I refer to is:


Take nine pints of warm fountain water, and dissolve in it one pint of pure
White-honey, by laving it therein, till it be dissolved. Then boil it
gently, skimming it all the while, till all the scum be perfectly scummed
off; and after that boil it a little longer, peradventure a quarter of an
hour. In all it will require two or three hours boiling, so that at last one
third part may be consumed. About a quarter of an hour before you cease
boiling, and take it from the fire, put to it a little spoonful of cleansed
and sliced Ginger; and almost half as much of the thin yellow rind of
Orange, when you are even ready to take it from the fire, so as the Orange
boil only one walm in it. Then pour it into a well-glased strong deep great
Gally-pot, and let it stand so, till it be almost cold, that it be scarce
Luke-warm. Then put to it a little silver-spoonful of pure Ale-yest, and
work it together with a Ladle to make it ferment: as soon as it beginneth to
do so, cover it close with a fit cover, and put a thick dubbled woollen
cloth about it. Cast all things so that this may be done when you are going
to bed. Next morning when you rise, you will find the barm gathered all
together in the middle; scum it clean off with a silver-spoon and a feather,
and bottle up the Liquor, stopping it very close. It will be ready to drink
in two or three days; but it will keep well a month or two. It will be from
the first very quick and pleasant.



Scott Mills	 
Engineering Problem Management	 
Industry Standard Server Division	 
Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com <mailto:Scott.Mills at Compaq.Com> 	 


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