Dark Age Food&Beverages – Mead

Mead. Source: http://www.gotujmy.pl

Today another simple (we’d say: basic or even iconic) recipe. The most characteristic drink for all Peoples of the North – mead. We need:

  • 2,5 liter of bee honey (constistency of fluid)
  • 7,5 liter of water
  • several hop cones

Mix the water and honey. During boiling over an open fire, gather the scumming foam from the surface. Make sure it won’t boil over. After gathering all produced foam the fluid called wort is produced. Put the hop cones or other spices into a small linen bag, tie it up and put for 2 days into the wort. One can add yeast leaven nowadays to speed the process up. The wort is ready to be put somewhere to ferment.  The time of fermentation as well as proportions honey-water determine the power of the drink. After 6 months “czwórniak” (1:3 “fourther”) is ready,  “trójniak” (1:2 “threether”) after a year. “Dwójniak” and “półtorak” (1:1 “doubler” and 1 :0,5  “one-and-a-halfer”) need a long fermentation and even longer aging (10 years even).

The best container for the whole process is a glass carboy/baloon. More historical would be a clay ceramic or a stoneware container. It has to be boiled in the hot water prior to usage, to kill all unwanted bacteria and fungi that could spoil the process.

Mead was an important drink of ceremonial value for both Norse and Slavs.

Kvasir (“kvass” a common word in nothern languages means “a fluid produced from something that was crushed or squeezed” – a product of fermentation) was a god made of mixed saliva of Aesir and Vanir gods. He was extremely wise but dwarves Fjalar and Galar killed him and mixed his blood with honey, thus creating a Mead of Poetry, a drink that imbues a drinker with skaldic poetry mastery and wisdom. The Mead belonged to Giants but Odin have stolen it in the form of an eagle and …had vomited it for other Aesir to drink.

An interesting info: XII c skald Thorarin stuttfeldr during a poetry battle with his opponent, used a kenning “a vomit of an old Eagle” to describe his opponents poetry, thus winning the contest. As you can see hiphop or other showoffs is not a modern invention 🙂

As for the Slavs, mead was used in various ceremonies, as a gift or sacrifice for the gods by drinking it or pouring into the fire  – see for yourself the Kupala’s Night – Slavonic God of Love And Fertility Festival (21/22 June – the shortest night of the year).


Leszek Paweł Słupecki “Mitologia skandynawska w epoce wikingów”.

Hanna i Paweł Lis “Kuchnia Słowian. O żywności potrawach i nie tylko…”