We love honey almost as much as we love wine. So naturally, when we learned about mead—wine made from fermented honey—we had to figure out how to infuse the alcoholic ingredient into our summer routines by way of a cocktail, of course. That's when we called in honey advocate, David Guas, who is chef and owner of Washington, D.C.'s beloved Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery.
Just because you haven't heard of mead doesn't mean it's new to the scene. Mead is actually considered by some to be the most ancient alcoholic drink, dating back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Incan and Aztec tribes. It's also the root of one of the today's most popular marital traditions: the honeymoon. The beverage was once believed to be tied to love and fertility, and newly married couples were gifted a month's supply of the honey wine to imbibe in the hopes of bearing a child following the wedding. Hence, the honeymoon period is rooted in the drink.
Chef Guas has taken a much more modern approach in introducing the subtle yet intriguing ingredient into two refreshing, summery cocktail recipes you'll want to sip on all season. Make the Blackberry Mead-Fashioned for your more traditional friends, and bust out the Mead Melon-Ade when you're in need of a smooth, fruity infusion to chill out with on a warm summer night. Trust us, these crafty mead cocktails will have you and your guests buzzing. Get the recipes from chef Guas below.
This updated take on a classic old fashioned is the perfect combination of sour and sweet. The muddled fresh fruit makes the cocktail both pretty and tasty, and will undoubtedly impress guests at your next summer soirée. Just mix, sip, and stir to ensure 5 p.m. is the happiest hour.
2 tbsp. honey syrup (recipe below)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 orange peel (3-inch single-pulled peel)
1 ½ oz. mead
1 oz. bourbon (Belle Mead Bourbon recommended)
1 splash water
Combine blackberries, honey syrup (see recipe below), Angostura bitters, and orange peel in an 8- to 10-ounce rocks glass. Muddle together, mashing the blackberries. Pour into a separate 8- to 10-ounce glass and add a single 2-by-2-inch ice cube. Add the mead, bourbon, and water. Using a cocktail spoon, swirl the ice for 25 to 30 seconds.
Yields 4 servings
¼ cup wildflower honey
¼ cup water
Combine the wildflower honey and water in a small saucepan. Heat until dissolved (no more than one minute). Strain, chill, and reserve.
Made from fermented honey, mead has a surprisingly subtle flavor that complements sweet melon juice, making for a refreshing combination in cocktail form. Mead is the sole alcohol used for this recipe (it's usually slightly higher than wine, beer, and cider), which tastes like the epitome of summer thanks to hints of fresh ginger and lime. It's sure to be a hit on warm evenings.
2 oz. mead
1 ½ oz. honeydew melon juice
2 tsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. honey ginger syrup (recipe below)
Peel the melon and remove seeds. Chop the melon into medium pieces and add to a blender. Blend on high for two minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Do not push pulp through, but allow the melon to drain on its own (may take five to 10 minutes). Reserve the juice. Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Close the lid and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Strain into a nine-ounce flute glass.
2 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and smashed
½ cup water
½ cup honey clover
Combine all ingredients in a small one quart saucepan and bring to a quick boil. Remove from heat and allow the ginger to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and reserve syrup.
Shop a few essentials that will help you make these delicious mead cocktails at home.
What's your favorite summer cocktail ingredient?