A month ago, I decided to experiment in the Food Network kitchen and take my first stab at brewing. I chose to make mead, one of the oldest — and, by all accounts found online, easiest – brewing methods around. The basic technique is to combine water, honey and yeast, allow the yeast to eat the sugars in the honey, convert them into alcohol and ta-da! You have a tasty meady treat to drink outside on mellow Saturday afternoons.
After careful research I pulled together ratios for honey to water to yeast from various brewing websites, then went searching in the kitchen for the needed ingredients. 3 pounds of honey…… ok, found a pound of lavender honey, should taste good, then 1.5 pounds of clover honey, tastes good to me; then the last half pound was more problematic… Maple syrup, why not? It’s sweet and sugary and might lend an unexpected twist to the final product. Tea. Apparently the tannins in tea are good for mellowing the sweetness of the honey. Fine. I steal two bags of Russian Country (tannic, smoky, fun) from under Jake’s desk; he’ll never know. Finally yeast. Well, yeast is yeast right? Great, there’s baking packets in the bakers’ pantry. Done.
All is mixed together and after two months of painstaking care and twice daily releasing the nonstop production of carbon dioxide (or rather begging my co-workers to do so while I’m away shooting Tyler Florence for three weeks), the mead is ready. Yay! A glass for everyone!
But leave the baking yeast in the baker’s pantry, unless you want everything to taste like bread.
Charlie Granquist, Food Stylist