Mulled Mead: Combining Honey, Herbs, and History in a Glass

Mulled mead is a delightful and warming beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries. This festive treat combines honey wine with a mixture of spices and other ingredients to create a soothing and aromatic drink. With its rich history and enticing flavors, mulled mead has earned its place among the favorite beverages of the colder months.

To make your own mulled mead, you’ll typically start with a base of mead, which is a honey wine. Mead can range from dry to sweet and comes in various flavors, so feel free to choose one that suits your tastes. The key spices for creating the perfect mulled mead are usually ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, but you can also find recipes incorporating ingredients such as allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, and citrus. Each recipe can create a unique flavor profile that complements the honey wine and enhances the overall experience.

Understanding Mead

Mead is an alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey, water, and yeast, often referred to as honey wine. Its history dates back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest alcoholic drinks known to humankind. Throughout the ages, mead has been enjoyed by various cultures, including the Vikings, who were particularly fond of this sweet and potent drink, in fact one of our favorite recipes is our Viking Mead recipe.

To create mead, you must mix honey and water, and then add yeast to initiate the fermentation process. As the yeast consumes the sugars in the honey, it produces alcohol, gradually turning the mixture into mead. The final product can have various qualities and flavors depending on the type of honey used, the fermentation process, and if any additional ingredients like fruits or spices are incorporated.

Over time, mead has evolved, and today you can find many different types of  mead, including mulled mead. The alcohol content of mead can range from a low-alcohol, sweet and mild drink to a high-alcohol, strong and dry concoction. Some mead varieties include melomels (mead with fruit), metheglins (mead with spices), and braggots (mead and ale combined).

Mulled Mead Ingredients


To prepare traditional mulled mead, you will need a cinnamon stick, which will help create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Cinnamon is a crucial ingredient as it adds a spicy and sweet taste to the mead.

Cloves and Nutmeg

Mulled mead also requires ½ teaspoon of whole cloves and one whole nutmeg, smashed. These spices contribute a rich, warm, and slightly sweet flavor to the mead, enhancing its complexity.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, such as one slice of orange rind and one slice of lemon rind, are an essential part of the mulled mead recipe. They add a tangy, refreshing taste that balances the sweetness of other ingredients.


A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger is needed in the mulled mead recipe. Ginger provides a zesty and slightly spicy flavor, enhancing the overall taste of the mead.

Allspice and Cardamom

Crush cardamom pods and allspice berries gently to add into your mulled mead. These spices contribute a warm, slightly fruity taste, and enhance the flavor of the mead.


To create mulled mead, you will generally start with a bottle of high-quality, traditional still mead. Mead is a honey-based alcoholic beverage, so the honey component is already present. However, you may opt to add more honey if you desire a sweeter taste.

Mulling Spices

Mulling spices – a blend of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and other spices – can be purchased at your local grocery store or made from scratch. Usually, they also contain cardamom seeds, whole cloves, and star anise.

Additional Ingredients

To enrich the flavor, add 3 tablespoons of brandy and 250ml of apple juice to your mulled mead. Brandy adds a bit of a kick to the flavor, while apple juice provides a fruity, tangy note.

Mulled Mead Recipe

To make a traditional mulled mead, gather the following ingredients:

– 1 bottle of mead
– 2 cinnamon sticks
– 5 whole allspice
– 5 black peppercorns
– 5 cardamom seeds
– 7 whole cloves
– 1 one-inch piece of fresh ginger or 3 teaspoons
– 1 orange slice

First, pour the mead into a saucepan and add the cinnamon sticks, allspice, black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, whole cloves, ginger, and orange slice. Place the saucepan on low heat and slowly bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Be careful not to heat the mead to a high temperature or boil it, as it may cause the honey to lose its flavor and valuable nutrients. Instead, keep the heat low and allow the mead and spices to warm up slowly.

As the mead mixture simmers, the rich and spicy aroma will begin to fill your kitchen. Allow the mead to simmer for about 15-20 minutes to ensure the flavors from the spices are fully infused. During this time, stir the mixture occasionally to make sure all the ingredients are well combined and prevent anything from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.

Once the mulled mead has reached the desired taste, it’s time to strain the mixture. Place a cheesecloth over a large container or another saucepan, and carefully pour the mulled mead through the cheesecloth to strain out the spices, ginger, and orange slice. Make sure to wear gloves or use a ladle to avoid burning yourself.

Your  mulled mead is now ready to serve. You can pour the strained mead into heat-resistant glasses or mugs and enjoy it warm with friends and family.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving hot mulled mead, there are various approaches you can take to make the experience enjoyable. To begin with, it is important to serve mulled mead in a suitable container such as a tankard or heat-resistant glass mug. This not only adds a touch of authenticity but also allows the drinker to appreciate the rich color of the mead.

Next, consider serving hot mulled mead at an appropriate temperature. Aim to gently heat the mead until it reaches a steady simmer, which is around 55° F (12.8° C). This is the ideal temperature to allow the full range of flavors and aromas to shine. Be careful not to boil the mead, as this can distort its taste and diminish its natural sweetness.

While warming the mead, it is essential to mix in complementary spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. You can also consider adding extra honey, a dash of brandy, or some apple juice for added depth and richness. To get the most out of the aromas, gently stir the mixture during the heating process and remove the spices and lemon zest when the mead reaches the desired temperature.

Finally, presentation plays a key role in enhancing the mulled mead experience. You can garnish the hot mead with a lemon slice, a cinnamon stick, or a sprig of fresh mint. Encouraging your guests to inhale the warm, enticing aroma before taking their first sip can enhance their appreciation of the drink.

Variations of Mulled Mead

When it comes to mulled mead, there are several variations and twists to try out, each creating a unique taste and experience.

One interesting twist is to add a shot of Amaretto to each serving of mulled mead. This combination of almond flavor and sweet honey creates an exciting play on the traditional mulled mead. To enhance the flavors further, consider infusing a lemon rind to the mix, lending a citrusy touch to your drink.

Another option is to use still mead instead of the more common sparkling version. Still mead is less carbonated and offers a smoother, softer flavor profile when mulled. This variation can provide a more comforting and soothing drink, perfect for chilly winter evenings spent indoors.

For a more robust and potent variation, consider adding brandy to your mulled mead recipe. Not only does it strengthen the overall concoction, but it also imparts a warm and aromatic touch that perfectly complements the spices and honey flavors. Just a dash of brandy can elevate your mulled mead experience to new heights.

Mulled Mead FAQs

What are the key differences between mulled wine and mead?

Mulled wine and mead are both warm, spiced beverages enjoyed during the colder months. The primary difference between the two lies in the base alcohol. Mulled wine is made from red or white wine, while mead is a honey-based fermented drink. Both beverages can be flavored with similar spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cloves but the taste will be distinct due to the differences in the base ingredients.

How do you make a mulled mead recipe?

To make mulled mead, you’ll need a bottle of mead as a base. Follow these steps for a delicious and warming mulled mead:

1) Pour the mead into a saucepan.

2) Add spices such as cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, fresh ginger slices, and optionally orange slices or lemon peel.

3) Gently heat the mixture over low to medium heat, ensuring the temperature does not exceed 60°C (140°F).

4) Once warmed, you can serve immediately. Make sure not to boil the mead, as this could cause the loss of delicate flavors and aromas.

You can adjust the recipe according to your personal preferences and add other spices or ingredients, like apple juice or brandy, if desired.

Which spices are suitable for mulled mead?

The traditional spices used in mulled mead are ginger (preferably from the root, not powdered), cloves, and cinnamon. These three spices work together to create a signature flavor that can be further enhanced by the addition of other spices or ingredients, like black peppercorns, cardamom seeds, orange slices, or a shot of Amaretto. Regardless of your chosen ingredients, ensure that they complement the unique honey-based flavor of the mead.

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