Did you know mead (aka honey wine) is the world’s oldest alcoholic drink? Archaeologists discovered pottery vessels in northern China from 7,000 BCE that show evidence of honey fermentation. And now this ancient beverage is buzzing back into style.
Over the past two decades, the number of commercial meaderies in the U.S. has risen 650 percent, from just 60 in 2003 to 450 and counting in 2020, according to the American Mead Makers Association. Eric DeRise, owner of Poughkeepsie’s Slate Point Meadery (which opened in 2017), attributes the rise in popularity to a few factors. “I think people are always looking for something new to try. It’s also another option for those looking for gluten-free drinks, plus mead has been mentioned in popular shows recently.” (“Game of Thrones,” “Vikings,” and “The Witcher,” are a few of those shows.)
While the drink is historically very sweet, new age meaderies like Slate Point are crafting mead to be lighter and more akin to a hard cider or light wine. “This makes it more approachable and more drinkable, leaning more toward a mainstream type of beverage than just a novelty,” says DeRise.
Mead must be fermented with honey to qualify as mead, but it can be flavored with fruits, spices, and more—making it great to sip on its own, or use in a cocktail.
Slate Point Currant Rose Cocktail
6 oz. Slate Point
1 oz. Vale Fox Tod & Vixen’s gin
Sprig of rosemary, for garnish
- Add mead, gin, and ice to a balloon-style glass and stir. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.