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It’s the perfect time of year for hearty stews, rich cheesy bean dips, and braised chunks of meat. Anything rich and hearty is just begging to be made with alcohol, so before we go any further, let’s get the obligatory joke out of the way:
We absolutely love to cook with mead! Sometimes we even put it in the food!
Whether it was W.C. FIelds, Julia Child, or somebody’s drunk Aunt Margaret (the most likely quote originator), the classic joke isn’t too far off the mark.
Almost every dish from cold cereal to coq au vin blanc to cream of mushroom soup can be improved with alcohol, just not always as an ingredient. The trick to cooking with mead is just like cooking with any other alcoholic beverage: Will the flavor of the product add to the dish? If not, you’re just wasting alcohol.
Since meads can range from extremely subtle (Valkyrie’s Choice) to extremely bold (Psychopomp), there’s also a huge range of dishes that can be prepared with mead as an ingredient. Many dishes which call for white wine can be made with light craft mead for a subtle honey aroma in the final dish. Heavy beef dishes which call for bold reds can be made with fruit meads to dramatically influence the final flavor.
Another option is to use the mead in a house-made condiment. Did you know that all of our mustards at Colchester’s Mead Hall are made with mead? Vinaigrettes can be made with your favorite oil and Nordic Farmhouse. Anywhere that water, wine, or beer is an ingredient, mead can work just as well.
If we had to pick just one mead to cook with for the rest of our lives, there is no doubt that it would be Root of All Evil. The ginger kick and strong honey flavor work for everything from South Asian soups to Southwestern chili to Northeastern baked clams.
One warning about cooking with craft mead: Remember to boil it or cook it for a long time or else the carbonation can get into the food, which is… weird.
Obviously, the best way to learn about cooking with mead is by trial and error, but here’s a fun recipe to get you started.
Craft Mead Bean and Cheese Dip
Groennfell Meadery is Vermont’s premier craft meadery. Inspired by Old Norse legends, brewed with extraordinary ingredients, Groennfell’s meads are unlike anything you’ve had before. Crisp, clean, and astoundingly drinkable, the only way to explain any one of Groennfell’s meads is to try one yourself.