A DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE DRINK OF THE GODS
FROM VALHALLA'S GOAT
WHAT IS MEAD?
Mead is a honey wine made from fermenting honey with yeast (bacterial cultures) and water. It can take anywhere from a few weeks, to a year to ferment.
It is the oldest known alcoholic drink, dating back 4000 years. Drank by many ancient civilisations globally, it is mostly associated with Vikings and Norse mythology.
Viking were big producers and drinkers of mead. They had perfected bee-keeping, which fortuned them with the honey needed to produce the elixir. Traditionally drunk during harvest celebrations or prior to battle to get them 'in the mood'. They would drink it from ornately carved horns or from silver cups with detailed Norse designs.
Mead was so engrained in Norse culture that it was interpreted into their mythology.
Upon entering Valhalla (afterlife), warriors were given a 'draught of mead'. They also believed a she-goat in Valhalla named Heidrun would supply them with an eternal amount of mead produced from its udders. Hence the name of our shop; Valhalla's Goat.
They also had a fantastic story of how mead was discovered which featured as a saga in Norse Mythology. 'Mead of Poetry' is a tale of Dwarves, Giants and Gods, and it's a fascinating read. We've given you a brief idea of how the story goes, but we'd highly recommend reading the whole tale, because it is wild.
MEAD OF POETRY
After a peace treaty to end war, gods and goddesses created Kvasir by spitting into a cauldron. Kvasir was one of the wisest known beings and had the wisdom to answer any question.
The gods allowed Kvasir to leave Asgard to travel. He was then tragically killed by two dwarves, Fjalar (Deceiver) and Galar (Screamer), who then drained his blood, mixed it with honey and fermented it into mead. The Mead of Poetry would gift its drinkers with becoming a poet or scholar.
The mead then passed from the dwarves to a giant. Upon hearing this, the Norse god Odin ventured to the giants lair and seduced his wife, turned into an eagle and obtained the mead by drinking it.
MEAD IN HISTORY
Mead is the oldest alcohol in the world!
The earliest discovery of a drink fermented with honey was in Northern China and dating to 6500BC. This makes mead older than the wheel. In Europe, traces of mead were found in ceramics in Scotland dating to 2800BC.
Boozy drinks made with honey were common among the ancients of Scandinavia, Teutonic Europe, Greece and in the Middle Ages.
The Romans made hydromel, which would have been very similar to the mead drunk by the Celts and Anglo-Saxons.
Mead is a lot simpler to make than beer, but you still need some special equipment to do so;
- Demijohn to ferment in
- Airlock and bung for demijohn
- Short length of tubing
- Big food safe bucket
- Large metal spoon
You should also follow a recipe or guide to ensure you're doing it right. BBC Good Food has a fantastic step-by-step guide that you can follow here.
OUR MEAD RANGE
We take pride in our mead selection, as we believe it's the best in Glasgow. We have mead from a few different producers and in varying flavours. So, you can stick to the classic, or go off the beaten track.
Our firm favourite in the shop is Rookery from Perthshire. They reference historical and archaeological evidence as source material to back-engineer a product from forgotten times using organic honey.
That's not to say that our other mead offerings aren't as good. Have a look at who we stock using the logo links to the right.