Brew this delicious sparkling mead now and have it ready for Yule!
Montrachet yeast (1 packet)
Yeast nutrient, 1 oz.
12 lbs. high-quality honey (thyme, thistle, or wildflower honeys are nice for this recipe)
Zest of four large or eight small oranges
5 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
12 cloves, broken
10 large slices fresh ginger, bruised with a hammer to release flavor
5 gallons water
Large cooking kettle
Food-grade five-gallon fermenting bucket
Racking (siphoning) cane
Glass carboy, 5 gallon
Caps and capping press
- Start the yeast 2 days ahead. Take a sterilized jar and add a tablespoon of honey. Pour on a ¼ pint to ½ pint of boiling water and stir to mix. When cooled to 20°C or below, add the yeast and yeast nutrient. Keep covered but not airtight, a muslin cover affixed with a rubber band or string is ideal.
- Put the spices, zest and ginger into a large cooking kettle. Add about 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
- Put all but 2/3 cup of the honey into a food-grade fermenting bucket and strain the herb liquid through muslin cloth onto it whilst still hot. Stir the honey until dissolved. Top up with water to four gallons total.
- Allow to cool to 20°C and then add the prepared yeast starter
- A fierce fermentation should begin quickly. After a few days to a week the rate will have slowed and the must can be poured into a carboy and topped up to five gallons with cooled boiled water prior to fitting the air-lock.
- Keep in a warm place until fermentation stops.
- Move the carboy into a cool place and when ready to bottle, stir in 2/3 cup additional honey.
- Rack off into champagne bottles (NOT wine bottles as shown, or they will explode), and cap.
- Age for 3 months or longer in cool, dark place.