Mead is a fermented alcoholic drink made of water, honey, malt, yeast, herbs and lemon juice
that is said to be the earliest man-made alcoholic beverage. It typically has an alcohol content of about 8 - 18 % by volume.
Up until the late Middle Ages, mead was a popular drink in northern Europe, where wine grapes could not be grown. Mead was later replaced
by beers and imported wines.
Mead was known in Scandinavian mythology as the drink of mighty gods and the fearless Vikings. It is also known in Russia where it is called
miod a word also meaning honey.
The modern Finnish mead sima is made of
water, white and/or brown sugar, lemon juice and yeast and flavoured with raisins. Honey or dark molasses may be used in addition to sugar to vary the flavour.
This kind of non-alcoholic mead is traditionally sold in stores and served during the May Day celebration, accompanied by May Day fritters.
Instead of lemon, mead can be flavoured with many other ingredients, like rhubarb, mint, tarragon, lemon balm, basil, hops, hyssop, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, meadowsweet, willowherb, birch leaves, dandelion buds, etc.
You will find an easy recipe for homemade, virtually non-alcoholic mead here.