Mead: Nectar of the Gods

Is there a beverage that conjures up more images than mead? Whether you associate it with Druids, pre-Roman civilizations of central Europe, Vikings and Teutonic raiders, Celts ancient or modern, it is impossible to deny the hold that mead has always had on the imagination of Western civilization. It probably was mead that Homer and others had in mind when they described “nectar,” favored beverage of the inhabitants of Olympus. Certainly mead played a role in the Icelandic sagas, in Beowulf, in the writings of the ancient Irish bards. It is mentioned in the Bible, in African tribal lore, even in the epic of Gilgamesh. Wherever man has lived, he has made mead, even in lands where the grape or grain grew in abundance. But what is mead? In general terms mead is wine made from honey. But there generality ends. Every region or people who has produced mead has given it a different, customized spin. One need only look at the varieties of mead in the northwestern European tradition to begin to see that diversity. There are still meads