View Full Version : Revolutionary war Mead?

05-04-2005, 01:45 PM
Dose anyone do Revolutary war reenactments also? Iím trying to find a recipe for my NC group. I was thinking the basic Honey + bread yeast= Mead. On that same note anyone know a good place to find a place that serves mead in Charleston SC? Itís the 225th battle celebration and everyone in the group is sick of Sam Adams every year. So anyone have any Ideas for me?

05-11-2005, 09:24 AM
A good basic Mead has no equal. But, there's no need to do a "basic" mead for period correctness, as spices, fruits, grains etc.... have prevailed through-out the ages. I wouldn't worry too much over period correct yeast either. Eventhough yeast was not purchsed in a nice foil wrapper and not as "lab refined" as it is today, there is one basic fact that can't be argued, there are no "new" yeast. Developed and refined, yes. But not new. Decide whether you wish an "ale" type or "wine" type and jump in. Good luck and enjoy Charleston, it's a great town.

Dan McFeeley
05-14-2005, 03:09 AM
Sanborn Brown's book "Wines and Beers of Old New England" doesn't have much details on meads from that era but does say that most of them were based on even older English recipes. You might be able to get by with something from Digby's Closet. You can find recipes at this URL: http://realbeer.com/spencer/Digby-recipes/

If I can find an old file, I might be able to dig you out an 1860's recipe for mead from The Whitehouse Cookbook. As I recall, there wasn't much too it -- it said little more than add an unspecified amount of honey and water to a crockpot, add yeast and let it go.

Sorry, I'm at work right now and don't have access to my stuff . . .

Dan McFeeley
05-15-2005, 11:37 AM
Here they are: The recipes below are transcribed from _The White House Cookbook_, a publication listing the recipes of White House chefs, possibly published in the late 1800's. There was no publishing date listed so I'm really not sure how old these recipes are.

I thought it was interesting that White House chefs were using an egg for a hydrometer as Digby did in the 1600's in England. Digby seems to have added the egg during the boil, while the White House chefs added the egg before the boil. The recipe doesn't say how much honey to use, which makes me wonder how much variance there was in these White House meads, or whether it was something that was known well enough to be assumed. The use of hops was used in the making of what was then termed "sack mead," and brandy added to wine seems to be a technique from this period thought to improve the finished product. The amount added was about one glass per gallon of wine.



This is a very ancient and popular drink in the north of Europe. To some new honey, strained, add spring water; put a whole egg into it; boil this liquor till the egg swims above the liquor; strain, pour it into a cask. To every fifteen gallons add two ounces of white Jamaica ginger, bruised, one ounce of cloves and mace, one and a half ounces of cinnamon, all bruised together, and tied up in a muslin bag; accelerate the fermentation with yeast; when worked sufficiently, bung up; in six weeks draw off into bottles.

Another Mead. -- Boil the combs, from which the honey has been drained, with sufficient water to make a tolerably sweet liquor; ferment this with yeast, and proceed as per previous formula.
Sack Mead is made by adding a handful of hops and sufficient brandy to the comb liquor.


Mix gradually with two quarts of boiling water three pounds and a half of the best brown sugar, a pint and a half of good West India molasses, and a quarter of a pound of tartaric acid. Stir it well, and when cool, strain it into a large jug or pan, then mix in a teaspoonful (not more) of essence of sassafras. Transfer it to clean bottles, (it will fill about half a dozen,) cork it tightly, and keep it in a cool place. It will be fit for use next day. Put into a box or boxes a quarter of a pound of carbonante of soda, to use with it. To prepare a glass of sassafras mead for drinking, put a large tablespoon of the mead into a half tumbler full of ice-water, stir into it a half teaspoonful of the soda, and it will immediately foam up to the top.
Sassafras mead will be found a cheap, wholesome, and pleasant beverage for warm weather. The essence of sassafras, tartaric acid and carbonate of soda, can, of course, all be obtained at the druggist's.