THE NEED FOR MEAD
Fermented foods and drinks are a timeless technology that was tested, pioneered and perfected by our ancient ancestors and from countless cultures from all around the world. They're one of the greatest gifts they've passed on to us and have continued to benefit the health of their infinitely diverse descendants. Examples of these foods and drinks include sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough bread, pickles, vinegar, hard cider, kombucha, mead, wine, beer and many others.
Personally, I find the philosophical and biological correlations between the societal cultures and bacterial cultures both fascinating and mutually beneficial. As a community of organisms work in concert harmony to transcend and thrive, the activity that occurs within a batch of fermenting liquid offers symbiotic solutions that would serve to augment the structures of human life.
The health of our populations of people and intestinal flora have answers to problems by learning the lessons of building quality relationships with magical microorganisms through dynamic interactions. It's a lifestyle. One that works rather well.
I've been adding these allies into my own life for a few years. One result is, I feel my gut instincts have blossomed. The process of creativity in this practice is rewarding and fun.
Medicinal Mead (4 1/2 gallons)
Ingredient basics: - 3 1/2 to 4 gallons of fresh water - herbs/spices - 1/2 to 1 gallon of raw honey - 1 package of brewers yeast or wild
Activation steps: Start by using the purest water available to you. Personally, I use wild harvested living spring water. In a big pot, heat up the water to make a tea with herbs or spices of your choice. The possible combinations are endless.
I like to use Chaga, Reishi and other medicinal tree mushrooms, along with complementary Chinese adaptogens, such as Ginseng, Ho Shu Wu, Gynostemma, Goji, Schizandra, Cistanche, Euccomia.
Let the liquid cool down until it's just warm enough to melt in the honey. It's important that the honey you use is raw, ethically harvested from a local source and not heated up too much as you're incorporating it. This is to ensure the preservation of its enzymes, nutritional properties and functionality in the brew. As a general guideline, the more honey you put in, the higher the alcohol content and potent the drink.
Pour the mixture through a funnel and into a 5 gallon glass bottle.
Once the temperature of the sweetened tea has reached about the same degree of your body, this is the time to either add the package of yeast, or set it outside to become inoculated with wild yeast from the air (providing you're doing this in an area that is relatively unpolluted by industrial byproducts). A third option for initiating the activation process of your brew is to add a pint or two of an old ripened batch that already has the intoxicating aliveness of full bloom success.
Attach an airlock to the top, unless you're activating with wild yeast outdoors. If you're utilizing the latter method, wait until it's been blessed by the fermentation gods and begun the cultural process, before putting on the airlock. Either way, once everything is underway, carefully set the bottle down in a dimly lit and moderately temperate area.
At every step of the way and especially during the fermentation process, I like to consciously imprint my good will upon all the ingredients. I feel like they all respond to my thoughts and actions. Remember: you're having a hand in the creation of something becoming more alive.
I'll usually wrap some sort of attractive cloth around the container and even set crystals around the base. After a few days, if the fermentation gods have favored your efforts, you should begin to see bubbles rising to the surface. This activity will then proceed to diminish after a few days, then finally taper off after a few weeks. That's the signal for you to taste it and if enough of the sugars have been converted into alcohol, harvest it.
A healthy toast of good cheer is in order if the flavor profile suits your palate, the effervescence agrees with your tastes and the alcohol content is compatible with your tolerance. The last thing to do is to then siphon it all into smaller bottles of your choice, cork those tops, put a label and date on them and simply store them in a cool and dark environment for later consumption.
The longer they age, the more refined they will be. The more patience you exercise during this time, the more elegant the experience will be yielded to you. In my experience though, I've found it too tempting to wait and difficult to resist delaying gratification.
This recipe is flexible and there's plenty of room for you to improvise with the addition of herbs, superfoods and spices to suit your personal tastes and preferences. There are plenty of other resources if you desire to learn more of this craft. Here's just a couple examples of excellent books about this art.