Blackberry Metheglyn

Contributed by Buster, Guardian of Animals

Hi, I'm Buster and one of my specialties is mead making; it's become the Official Ritual Drink at the Ravenstead, and we like it at other times too. Metheglyn is a hybrid mead where some of the flavor (and sugar for fermenting) comes from fruit and spices as well as from honey.  Here's a step-by-step recipe for Blackberry Metheglyn that goes well with a warm fire on a cold winter's night:

Blackberry Mead (Metheglyn)

Needed:

  • 44 ounces of good-quality honey. Buy local honey if you can.
  • Four liters of distilled or purified water (not tap water!)
  • One packet of dry brewer’s yeast. Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast is best.
  • Two bubble traps, professionally made or you can make your own.
  • Four two-liter PET bottles from club soda or sparkling water (not cola), well washed, with caps. DO NOT USE GLASS!
  • Stoppers to fit your bottles and the bubble traps. Silicone rubber is best. A size 3 lab stopper fits a 2-liter soda bottle.
  • Ground cinnamon.
  • Ground cloves.
  • Twelve ounces of fresh or frozen blackberries plus an extra four ounces of honey (preferred)
    OR…
  • One 10-ounce jar of commercial blackberry preserves (contains added sugar).

 

  1. Heat one-half gallon of distilled or purified water to a slow simmer, remove from heat, and add EITHER 36 ounces of honey plus 12 ounces of pureéd fresh blackberries (preferred), OR 32 ounces of honey plus one 10-ounce jar of blackberry preserves if fresh berries are unobtainable.
  2. Stir until homogeneous, cover, and let cool to room temperature
  3. Decant the liquid carefully to leave most of the blackberry residue behind, and divide it equally between two of the bottles.
  4. Mix the dry yeast from the packet with half a teaspoon of cinnamon and two good pinches of ground cloves. Add half the dry mixture to each bottle.
  5. Cap and SHAKE THOROUGHLY. Make up with more distilled or purified water to about 1” below the neck, and again cap and shake thoroughly.
  6. Remove each cap and replace with a bubble trap. Wash and save the caps.
  7. Set the bottles aside in a warm (preferably about 80°F) dark place for primary fermentation. Check daily until gas evolution has stopped (no more bubbles coming up through the traps for 60 seconds or more). Depending on the temperature, this may take from one to several weeks.
  8. Decant carefully into the other two, previously cleaned soda bottles, leaving as much as possible of the sediment behind.
  9. Add two more tablespoons of honey to each bottle and CAP TIGHTLY.  This will start a secondary fermentation, generating carbon dioxide to give the mead a nice “sparkle.”
  10. When the bottles feel firm and tight with pressure, like a store-bought bottle of soda, the mead is ready. Refrigerate until use.

NOTE: the finished bottles will unavoidably contain a small amount of sediment (used-up yeast) and will also tend to foam when opened. Treat like a soda bottle – let it stand a few minutes before opening, then pour out carefully…and ENJOY!

CAUTION: Mead from this recipe runs about 14% alcohol. If you’ve not had mead before or aren’t accustomed to alcohol, take it slow! Gone are the Viking days when the most dangerous way home was walking or by horse. Please drink responsibly, and have a designated driver for after!

Buster, Guardian of Animals

Buster, Guardian of Animals

As a veterinary technician and a 20-year friend of Chuck and Cissy, I’m often at the Ravenstead to help with their “critters” or for evenings with or without rituals. I also keep bees, brew my own mead in a variety of flavors, and I’m proud to say it’s become the Official Ritual Ravendrink as well as a favorite outside the Circle. I’ll be posting some of my best recipes.