The word ‘mead’ makes me think of alcohol in the days of kings and kingdoms. That’s why I was suitably taken aback when I spotted a stall selling apple and coffee mead at the recently concluded Lil Flea festival in Bandra, Mumbai.
Nitin and Manu of Moonshine Meadery
Nitin (one of the founders) and Manu were happy to let me taste both their varieties – apple and coffee. Both were sweet in taste (expectedly so since mead is essentially fermented honey and water) but the apple felt like a natural extension of the original while the coffee flavour felt a little forced. Nitin confirmed my instincts by saying that while the apple is fermented with the honey, the coffee is infused at a later stage.
So of course, I decided to have a glass of apple mead. The taster had been great – lightly sweet and refreshing but an entire glass did make me miss the bitterness of the chocolate stout beer I’d had earlier. But if you’re a Game of Thrones fan or follow anything that belongs to bygone eras, a little mead will bring you closer to your passion. It is one of the earliest forms of alcohol and usually takes 6-8 months to make. The folks at Moonshine Meadery however take only ten days to make their moonshine.
Maharashtra paved the way for the company by recognising mead as a formal alcoholic category under wine in June 2017. It is the only state to accord mead this honour. But with an average alcohol content of 6-8%, which is more than beer, the drink it’s commonly pitted against, we don’t see why other states shouldn’t do so as well.
The founders, Nitin and Rohan, feel that mead is a great accompaniment to Indian food since most of it tends to be spicy. Mine certainly paired well with the kheema bun I lunched on. I asked Nitin about the demand for mead in India and he said it had been pretty good. But they’re only retailing at Gateway Taproom in BKC, Mumbai on tap. So if you’re looking to grab a bottle of mead, you’ll have to wait a little longer.
These bottles might be available in future.
On the other hand, making mead doesn’t seem all that difficult. Even Nitin and Rohan began by home-brewing their own mead. All you need is water, honey and yeast for the most basic version. Boil the water, add honey, yeast and seal. Let the mixture ferment for a month and then transfer to another container to let the sediments settle.
So give it a go, and feel like the ancient warriors of yore, when you have it after a hard day at work!