Britain’s Golden Age began with Henry VIII, and culminated with the reign of his daughter. In her name, a delicious wine, Queen Elizabeth’s Mead was created. During her time, most of the New World’s foods, including the potato, tomato, and corn came to England with the voyages of explorers like Drake.
In her earlier years, before inheriting the throne from her brother, Edward VI, Elizabeth lived quite a domestic life, mostly at Hever Castle, and was well respected for her gastronomic talents. Making mead in those days was a normal part of culinary practice. Whether Elizabeth made this herself or not, it remains a wonderful recipe from England’s Golden Age of culinary arts.
- 3 1/2 pounds honey
- 1 Gallon water
- 1/4 teaspoon acid blend
- 1 Tablespoon yeast nutrient
- 1/2 ounce rosemary
- 1/2 ounce bay leaves
- 1/2 ounce thyme
- 1/4 ounce sweet briar
- 1 Campden tablet
- 1 packet Madeira yeast
- In the primary, dissolve the honey, acid blend, yeast nutrient and yeast in 1 gallon of luke-warm water.
- Add the Campden tablet.
- Attach airlock and let sit until ferment is complete (about 3 to 5 weeks).
- Syphon off sediment into secondary and let sit for 6 months.
- When wine is 6 months old, rack back into primary.
- Place herbs in nylon straining bag (securely tied) and place in primary.
- Taste the wine daily until the flavor extracted from the herbs is satisfactory, then remove the bag of herbs.
- Mature for at least an additional 6 months, racking every 2 months to aid clearing.