How mead was made and stored in Rus'

The most famous low-alcohol drink, for the preparation of which honey is used as the main raw material, is mead. In various variations, honey drinks have been known to many peoples since ancient times - they were prepared by the Slavs, Scandinavians, and Greeks.

Drinks were used not only for holidays, as an intoxicating drink, but also for medicinal purposes. Times have passed, but the product has not lost its popularity. Let's consider what mead is, how it can be prepared and what is best to use it with.

What is this

Mead is a low-alcohol drink made from honey and water. The first mentions of it date back to the 7th millennium BC. Some scientists believe that mead-making technology is much older than winemaking. The popularity of the product is due to the fact that beekeeping was widespread almost everywhere.

Even on the walls of Egyptian tombs, scientists have discovered images that supposedly depict a recipe for making mead. The Egyptians in those days were sure that this “sunny” drink was of divine origin.

The ancient Slavs believed that only great people could drink honey drinks. In Rus', until the 11th century, “drinking honey” was prepared by honey extraction - set honey. The preparation process took from 5 to 20 years. This was due to the fact that yeast of natural origin was used in production - from sour berries, and therefore the fermentation process was very slow.

In the 11th century, a new technology was mastered, thanks to which the finished product began to be obtained within a few months from the start of preparation. In the process, yeast began to be used, and honey was sterilized.

In the 17th century, the popularity of preparing the product decreased significantly, and mead making became a rare occurrence. This happened because winemaking began to flourish everywhere. However, by the end of the 19th century, the traditions of mead making were being revived again, and it was at this time that most of the recipes that have survived to this day appeared.


The main ingredients when making mead are water and honey. Depending on the recipe, hops and yeast are used to regulate the strength. The composition may also include various berries and spices:

  • juniper;
  • ginger;
  • carnation;
  • cinnamon;
  • pepper;
  • rosehip, etc.

The drink, as a rule, has a yellow-golden color and a pronounced, characteristic honey aroma. Due to the high sugar content and the fermentation process, the product has a sweet and sour taste.

Fermentation of mead.

How many degrees of alcohol are in mead?

In the oldest recipes for this drink, where the production did not involve the use of yeast, the alcohol content was low - about 6%. After people began to use yeast and other products, the percentage of alcohol increased.

Depending on the recipe used, the use of additional ingredients, temperature and aging time, mead is divided into regular, young, staged and fortified. The alcohol content can range from 5 to 16%.

Modern drink recipe

Mead, the recipe for which is currently used, is prepared with yeast, hops and other ingredients. A drink prepared using this method will be ready in 5-6 days.


What to take:

  • honey – 300 g;
  • water – 2 l;
  • 1 tsp. dry yeast (can be replaced with pressed yeast - 25 g);
  • 5 g hop cones;
  • a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.

You don't have to use alcohol yeast, any yeast will do. Hop cones can be purchased at the pharmacy kiosk.

Cooking technology

To prepare the drink:

  1. In an enamel saucepan, bring water to a boil, then add honey. Boil the liquid for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until white foam appears on its surface, which must be carefully removed with a spoon.
  2. After removing the foam, add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg and hop cones to the water. Mix the mixture well and turn off the heat.
  3. After the liquid has cooled, add diluted yeast. Place the fermentation drink in a warm place, covering the container with gauze.
  4. After signs of fermentation appear (after about 2 days), pour the liquid into a glass jar, attach a rubber glove to the neck, and pierce one finger. You can use a water seal.
  5. Wait until the mead ferments (at the end of fermentation the glove deflates or bubbles stop forming and come out through the water seal). This process takes approximately 5-6 days.
  6. The fermented liquid is poured into a suitable container without sediment and filtered several times. The drink is poured into bottles, capped tightly and stored in a cold place. Mead prepared in this way can be consumed immediately, but it is better if it sits for another 3 days.

Popular mead recipes


The recipe for making “staged” mead is suitable only for true connoisseurs of antiquity and people with great patience. It is one of the first options for preparing “drunk honey”. The technology for making staged mead was practically abandoned back in the 18th century due to the long ripening period of the product.

During production, wild yeast was used, usually from sour berries, and no stylization was used. This, in turn, significantly increased the fermentation period of the drink - in tightly sealed oak barrels the drink could mature from 3 to 50 years.

For this reason, this mead was called “stacked”, i.e. stood for a long time.

The cooking recipe was quite simple. They took a large oak barrel and filled it with unboiled well water. Honey was added in a proportion of approximately 1/7, as well as any berries &madsh; raspberries, cherries, blueberries, etc. - in the same proportions. The berries were previously pitted and not washed before use, since it is the berries that contain natural (“wild”) yeast, which ensured fermentation.

The barrel was placed in a dark, cool place for 2 weeks, after which the drink began to ferment. Next, it was filtered from the berries, poured into the same barrel, tightly corked, covered with tar and often buried in the ground for 3-5 years to ripen. As a result, they received young “staged” mead.

What should the container be?

The vessel in which fermented drinking honey will be stored is very important (here you can even draw an analogy with the preparation of expensive wine - the wine that is stored in oak barrels has a delicious tart taste and aroma, and the one that is kept in glass turns out to be too sour and sometimes tasteless), so you need to choose it responsibly. The most important rule, failure to comply with which can cause spoilage of the drink, is that mead should not be stored in metal barrels


The active components of honey can interact and create chemical complexes with metals, which can harm both the honey product itself and human health (metal salts can cause toxic poisoning).

You can buy mead from us by calling one of the numbers:

+380984298830 +380955638797

It is best to choose wooden barrels for storage

(oak would be the ideal material), because wood not only perfectly preserves all the beneficial properties of honey, but also improves its taste. Some connoisseurs claim that the taste is most influenced by the linden barrel, but this fact has no documentary evidence, and yes, oak still wins in popularity. How to store mead for those who do not have the opportunity to buy a barrel (to be frank, this is far from a cheap pleasure, so not everyone can make such a purchase)?

Glass bottles can be used for this purpose.

(there is information that plastic containers can also be used for this purpose, but experts say that drinking honey can be stored in such containers for no more than one month). Glass has increased resistance to chemical activity, which is why chemists value it so much, so you definitely shouldn’t worry about the active components of honey starting to interact with it, but the taste of the drink will not change in any way after long-term storage (that is, no new “ note" will not appear in it after the fermentation process is completed), only the degree can change, which will increase over time.

Temperature and light availability

The shelf life of mead is affected by the temperature in which the container with drinking honey will be located. In the room (it is best to choose a cellar for this purpose) the temperature should not exceed five to seven degrees. It is best to bury a barrel of mead in the ground (the main thing is to mark the place of your “treasure” with a cross)

. Sun rays should not fall on the container (in principle, this is excluded in the cellar, but you should still not forget about this fact), because the sun heats the mixture and causes the process of its re-fermentation, as a result of which a person can subsequently get a non-elite low-alcohol and at the same time, it is a medicinal product, but an ordinary brew.

You can order Drinking honey (mead) by phone:

+380984298830 +380955638797

How much and how to store

In the old days, mead could be stored for decades - the longer the aging, the higher the quality of the product. Today, it is not recommended to store homemade mead for more than 6–12 months. A factory-made drink can be stored for up to 5 years. However, if the bottle has already been started, the product must be consumed within a month.

The most suitable containers for storage are wooden barrels or glass bottles - metal concrete is not suitable for these purposes. The optimal temperature is from 7 to 10°C. Approximately this temperature is usually kept in basements and cellars. If the drink is stored in glass bottles, they are covered with thick cloth so that light does not penetrate.

Storage rules

To prevent the drink from spoiling, follow these simple rules:

  1. Store your mead in one place. If possible, do not rearrange or move it.
  2. Do not shake the contents of barrels or bottles, as this may damage the product.
  3. Mead should be stored in a tightly closed container. You can't open it.
  4. If you open a container with a drink, you need to drink it within a month. If stored open for a longer period of time, it will acquire a bitter taste and may spoil.
  5. The longer the mead infuses, the tastier and healthier it will be.

Whether you have the endurance to store mead for more than 5 years depends on you. Few people can resist the excellent taste and pleasant aftertaste.

What do you drink mead with?

It is preferable to consume this product the same way as our ancestors - to snack on the drink with soaked apples, sauerkraut, honey and gingerbread. Apples, pears and citrus fruits (lemons, tangerines, oranges) are also great.

For entertainment purposes or to quench thirst, the drink is served chilled. If you drink mead as a medicine, then it is preferable to consume it warm, heating the product to 30–35 degrees. Try preparing one of the presented recipes and surprise your friends or family with a tasty, aromatic and healthy drink.

Belarusian mead

The drink began to be prepared in the Principality of Lithuania, which was located on the territory of modern Belarus. Only special nobility could afford it due to the presence of spices in the composition, which were very expensive in those days.

Drink components

The drink is prepared from the following ingredients:

  • water – 1 tbsp.;
  • vodka – 0.5 l;
  • liquid honey – 3 tbsp. l.;
  • cinnamon – 1 stick;
  • cloves, allspice – 3 pcs.;
  • nutmeg - a pinch.

Cooking technology

To prepare the drink you need:

  1. Grind spices using a coffee grinder.
  2. Combine vodka (half the amount) with water, add spices to the liquid, bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. After this, cool the liquid, add vodka (the remaining amount) and honey, mix well.
  4. After filtering the composition, pour it into a suitable container, add pepper and close tightly. Place the drink in a dark place for 8 days.

  5. After infusion, pour the mead without sediment into a glass container and close.
( 1 rating, average 5 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends:
Для любых предложений по сайту: [email protected]