Mead

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Mead (pronounced /ˈmiːd/ meed) (also called honey wine) is an alcoholic beverage that is produced by fermenting a solution of honey and water.[1] It may also be produced by fermenting a solution of water and honey with grain mash; the mash is strained off immediately after fermentation.[2]

Depending on local traditions and specific recipes, it may be flavored with spices, fruit, or hops[3] (which produce a bitter, beer-like flavor).

The alcoholic content of mead may range from about 8% ABV[4] to 18%. It may be still, carbonated, or sparkling, and it may be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.[5]

Mead is known from many sources of ancient history throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, although archaeological evidence of it is ambiguous.[6] Its origins are lost in prehistory. "It can be regarded as the ancestor of all fermented drinks," Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat has observed, "antedating the cultivation of the soil."[7]

Claude Lévi-Strauss makes a case for the invention of mead as a marker of the passage "from nature to culture."[8]

Contents

History

The earliest archaeological evidence for the production of mead dates to around 7000 BC. Pottery vessels containing a mixture of mead, rice and other fruits along with organic compounds of fermentation were found in Northern China.[9] In Europe, it is first attested in residual samples found in the characteristic ceramics of the Bell Beaker Culture.

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