An ancient alcoholic drink is making a comeback in the UK thanks to the craft beer revival.
Mead, once known as the nectar of the Gods, has seen a growing increase in sales over the last few years. English Heritage which is the largest seller of the drink says it sells a bottle of mead every 10 minutes.
The oldest archaeological evidence of people drinking mead comes from the Shang dynasty in China – it dates back to 1,600 BC. The existence of this alcoholic drink being drunk has been found across the remnants of the ancient world from China to Egypt to Britain.
Cameron Moffett, English Heritage Collections Curator, said: “There’s evidence of mead being consumed thousands of years ago and it was the power drink of ancient Europe before winemaking had developed.
“We’ve also found evidence of mead being produced and stored at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, in the 5th and 6th centuries AD for use in great feasting events. It’s wonderful that this very old drink is now being discovered by a whole new generation.”
Mead is made by fermenting honey with water and occasionally popping in other spices or fruits to boost the flavour. Back in the time of the Vikings, it tended to be sweet in the winter to warm you up and crisp in the summer to cool you down.
Now, like most alcoholic drinks, it is being used in cocktails.
English Heritage has set up the first Cocktail Bar and Meadery – The Vanguard – which uses the nectar of the Gods as a base for the drinks.
Samuel Boulton, Managing Director at The Vanguard, said: “With the success of Game of Thrones, as well as the rise in popularity of experimental cocktails, you could definitely call mead the new up and coming drink and our customers really enjoy that historical throwback with the modern twist.”
You don’t have to venture far and wide to find a bottle of mead, as it is available in most supermarkets, although buying it from an actual meadery gives it that Game of Thrones feel.