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
- 2 Cups Black Beans (we like to pressure cook dry beans for 4 minutes)
- 1 Large Onion diced
- 6 Cloves Garlic minced
- 1 Can Tomatoes diced
- 1 Can Root of All Evil
- 1 Can Valkyrie’s Choice
- Dash Cayenne
- Dash Smoked Paprika
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Simmer until the moisture has all boiled off or absorbed (a few hours)
- Remove from heat
- Shred in a handful of jarlsberg and a handful of cheddar (only you know how much cheese you like in your cheesy dip)
- Bake at 325 F for 20 minutes
- Let cool for 5 minutes
- Serve with crackers or hunks of bread