Mead is making a comeback

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In medieval times, mead was given part of a dowry.

By Mary Malik

Many of us are looking forward to weddings again this spring. And plans are also being made for honeymoons. The role that wine plays in weddings has quite a history.

“The term ‘honeymoon’ actually comes from the tradition of drinking honey wine for a full moon cycle after a new marriage,” says Jim Sperk, of the Northern Ohio Wine Guild. “Mead, the name given to honey wine, was in medieval times considered an aphrodisiac.”

Jim says that it was common for the father of the bride to include a month’s worth (a moon cycle) of mead as part of her dowry.

“Dad’s hope was that this liquid gold gift would ensure grandchildren,” says Jim.

Well, whatever the reason, mead is making a comeback. Twenty years ago, there were fewer than 30 meaderies in the United States. Today there are more than 400. Sixteen are right here in Ohio, some as adjuncts to boutique wineries.

“There are many types of meads,” says Jim. “Carbonated or still, high or low in alcohol, all with honey as the basic ingredient.”

Jim says that members of the mead family go by different names. Metheglins have added spices. Melomels contain fruit added to the honey and water base. Other types are Pyment, Cyser and Rhodomel, with several other variations.

“If you’re looking for that special gift for the newlyweds, stop at a local meadery and purchase a bottle,” says Jim. “But if the medieval legend is true, you may want to warn the couple.”

For information on the Northern Ohio Wine Guild, contact Jim Sperk at

Categories: Westside Food & Dining