How Was Mead Made in Ancient Times?

Mead is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from honey, water, and yeast. It is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to humans, dating back to ancient times. Mead has been produced in many cultures throughout history, including the Greeks, Romans, Vikings, and Celts.

The Basics of Mead Making

Mead making is a simple process that requires only a few ingredients. The first step in making mead is to mix honey and water in a container.

The ratio of honey to water can vary depending on the desired sweetness and alcohol content of the final product. Yeast is then added to the mixture to start the fermentation process.

Tools Used for Mead Making

In ancient times, mead was made using simple tools such as wooden barrels or clay pots for fermenting and storing. Honey was often harvested from wild bees or domesticated bees kept in hives.

Water was typically collected from nearby rivers or wells. Yeast was either obtained from the environment or added from a previous batch.

Ancient Techniques for Mead Making

The process of making mead has remained largely the same throughout history, but there have been some variations in techniques used by different cultures.

  • The Greeks used herbs and spices such as thyme, mint, and cinnamon to flavor their mead.
  • The Romans often mixed their mead with wine for added flavor.
  • The Vikings added fruits such as apples and berries to their mead.
  • The Celts brewed their mead with heather instead of hops.

Mead as a Cultural Beverage

Mead has played an important role in many ancient cultures as a ceremonial beverage. It was often consumed during religious events, weddings, and other celebrations. In Norse mythology, mead was believed to have magical properties and was associated with the god Odin.

Mead in Modern Times

Mead is still enjoyed today by many people around the world. There are many variations of mead available, including dry, sweet, and flavored varieties. Meaderies have popped up all over the world, creating unique and innovative blends of mead.


Mead making is a simple yet ancient art that has been passed down through generations. From the Greeks to the Celts to modern-day mead makers, this drink has held a special place in many cultures. Whether enjoyed as a ceremonial beverage or as a casual drink with friends, mead continues to be a beloved alcoholic beverage today.