This recipe is something we worked up because we wanted to play around making “mead” with our juice concentrates. If you want to make a metheglin you can substitute ale wort for the water in this receipt. Remind me someday to write a nice long post about all that.
9.5 cups distilled water
1.5 lbs honey
1.5 tsp yeast nutrient
2 cups cherry juice, grape juice, or thawed lemonade concentrate.
- Heat four cups of the distilled water to 180°F and stir in the honey, sugar, and yeast nutrient until it is all dissolved. We use distilled water to make sure it doesn’t have chlorine. If you want to make a “metheglin” you can substitute ale wort for the water in this receipt.
- Add the juice or syrup you are going to use and warm this back up to 180°F
- Remove from heat and add the rest of the water. Your solution should be at a good temperature for the yeast now but test it. Yeast revives best around 110°F (43°C). If you start with cooler liquid the yeast will reactivate but it can off-gas some funky flavor. Water hotter than 135°F (58°C) will kill yeasts.
- Strain this into two demi-johns. Sprinkle 1/2 packet of wine yeast into each demijohn and then fill the bottle to wear the neck starts to narrow off with room temperature water.
- If you are going to use currants as an indicator of when it is done, add ten dried currants to each bottle. You can also add some spices at this point.
- Put a lid with an airlock on each demi-john.
- Let this sit until the currants stop floating up-and-down in the solution.
- Bottle like you would ale.
(March, 2018 update)
Alternative Directions: This makes a perfectly adequate drink, but we decided we wanted to tweak it a bit for flavor. The primary ferment was stripping the flavors, so we added a secondary ferment. We wait to put the juice and any herbs or spices we are using until then. You would still add the currants to the primary if you were using them as an indicator.
We started making mead with the Red Star Premier Blanc Yeast. You can use champagne yeast or any wine yeast for the process, but we are aiming for a drier finished product. We aren’t playing at catching wild yeasts for our brews. I have a lot of diverse cultures living in my house and honey is too expensive to pick up some funky yeast.
I also am going to use modern bottling practices because I am a safety gal. This means we wash the bottles on the sanitize cycle in our dishwasher with a sanitizer like B-Brite and we sterilize the caps in boiling water before we start bottling. We are bottling this in 22-ounce beer bottles.