Recently racked my first Mead (w/ wildflower honey) a week ago and its has been mesmerizing to watch the CO2 bubbles rise to the top. Of course i had so sample a little at the time and it was absolutely delicious!! I cant wait till i have to re-rack it

So now I am gearing up to start a few more small batches (~2 gallon).

Both batches will be the same base Mead:
3-4 lbs Clover Honey per Gallon
Purified Water (not distilled)
5g Lalvin EC-1118
Staggered Nutrient with Fermaid K and DAP

So my question is when is the best time to add the Orange component, and what is best (Orange Slice or Orange Zest) for a middle of the road orange taste?

I would like to make these 2 batches slightly different with the addition of Vanilla (whole bean) and Cinnamon. Your suggestions welcome.

Thank you in advance!!