Metheglin is a honey based liquor, in other words a mead, in which spices are used. It’s slightly more complicated to make than mead but not difficult as this recipe shows.
As with all recipes, you can vary it to suit your tastes, what you have growing in your herb bed or balancing the individual flavour of the honey used. Most meads in the past when it was the celebration drink for weddings etc. were technically metheglins.
The makers were more interested in the final flavour rather than the name! Most often they would be bee-keepers rather than brewers – an early example of ‘added value’ for a smallholder business.
Ingredients for Metheglin Recipe
- 4lbs Honey
- 1 Lemon
- Sprig of rosemary
- Sprig of balm
- ½oz of root ginger, chopped and bruised or grated
- Wine or Mead Yeast
- Yeast Nutrient
Method for Metheglin Recipe
- Start the yeast 2 days ahead. Take a sterilised jar and add a tablespoon of honey. Pour on a ¼ pint to ½ pint of boiling water and stir to mix. When cooled to 20°C or below, add the yeast and yeast nutrient. Keep covered but not airtight, a muslin cover affixed with a rubber band or string is ideal.
- Put the rosemary and balm into a large pan along with the ginger and zest of the lemon. Add about 4 pints of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Put the honey into a fermenting bin or lidded wine bucket and strain the herb liquid through a jelly bag or muslin cloth onto it whilst still hot. Stir the honey until dissolved.
- Add the juice of the lemon
- Allow to cool to 20°C and then add the prepared yeast starter
- A fierce fermentation should begin quickly. After a few days to a week the rate will have slowed and the must can be poured into a demijohn and topped up to the gallon with cooled boiled water prior to fitting the air-lock.
- Keep in a warm place until fermentation stops
- Move the demijohn into a cool place and when ready to drink, rack off into bottles.
You can use most any herbs and spices in metheglin you wish. Cloves, cinnamon, marjoram, lemon balm, rue and hops are commonly used in metheglin. As well as or instead of the lemon you could add orange zest and juice.
Mead improves with age and is best stored for at least a year prior to drinking. Some of the best meads mature for 7 years prior to drinking.