With mead being what is most likely the oldest fermented drink in the world, having seen great popularity for thousands of years up until a few hundred years ago, there was bound to be the creation of mead variants such as this one, but what is metheglin?
While it does sound like a name of a pharmaceutical drug, it is definitely not medication of any sort by today's standards. Unless, of course, you consider an alcoholic beverage medicine for the soul (and stress).
Mead is an alcohol libation derived from fermenting a combination of honey and water. As mentioned earlier, there are going to be variations and metheglin is a kind of mead. Specifically, it is a mead that has had spices mixed into it, i.e. a spiced mead. This particular form of mead may even predate wine itself.
How to make metheglin?
Start by making the mead itself by taking your preferred amount and kind of honey - less will result in a drier drink, more in a sweet one - along with the enough water to make a combined gallon. It is better to heat this mixture to allow the honey to properly dissolve in the water.
Once the honey/water mixture is ready after cooling down a bit, it is time to add the yeast, in this case a Brewsy bag, and let it start eating away at the natural sugars found in honey to convert it into alcohol.
Once it reaches secondary fermentation, it is time to add the spices. Now, which spices to add are completely up to you but you can add anything from cinnamon to licorice root to ginger to mulling spices. As for the amount of spices, however, if you have never added herbs and/or spices to a mead before, start small. Add enough spices to taste.
Why is it called metheglin?
Similar to a number of words in the English language, metheglin also has its roots in the Welsh language. Specifically, it comes from the Welsh word meddyglyn where meddyg (meaning doctor or healer, which in turn comes from the latin word medicus) and ilyn (meaning liquor) come together to form an amazing meaning: healing liquor. As mentioned earlier, medicine for the soul (and stress). Mead also comes the word Welsh word meddyg.
What is the history of metheglin?
As you have probably ascertained from the name above, this particular kind of mead has its roots in folk medicine in Wales where it was given to people who suffered from colds and other ailments. Julius Caesar and the Romans were also recorded to have drank metheglin, having discovered it on their first attempt at invading the UK.
During the middle ages, it is said that Sir Kenelm Digbie had more fifty different metheglin recipes in his cookbook which shows the breadth of variety when it comes to making this particular kind of mead. However, with spices having been an expensive commodity during those times, it was usually the royals and the elite who were able to afford metheglin.
Now you know everything there is to know about metheglin, and if you decide to give it a whirl, just know that you would making (and drinking) something regal.