Mead is a sweet and delicious honey-based fermented beverage from eons ago. It was drunk by the Vikings and even older civilizations for it's intoxicating and preserving properties. Mead can age for a very long time, some ancient stories tell of 40 year old meads. There are many varieties of mead from ancient times and this one could fall under a few categories. It could be a metheglin, or spiced mead. It could be a melomel because of the fruit. The best one though, is a capsicumel, made with chilies.
This capsicumel recipe is a sweet and spicy one brewed with honey, ancho chilies, spices and citrus. It has a good kick on the first sip but after that it's fruity, spicy and sweet.
Image: A 1 gallon carboy of Fire Mead fermenting away, A glass of Fire Mead.
Step 1: The Recipe
1 kg blackberry honey
3 black cardamom pods
2 dried ancho chili peppers
1 cup plain black tea
3 small blood oranges
1 pkg Lalvin EC-1118
1 sanitizing vessel
lots of sanitizer
1 - 2 x 1 gallon (3.78 L) glass carboy or other fermenting vessel
1 big metal spoon
1 coffee mug
1 brewing pot
1 pair of scissors
1 airlock setup
1 siphon hose, at least 4 ft in length
11 beer bottles and caps (or 5 pressure-capable 750 ml wine bottles and corks)
Notes on Ingredients and Equipment
Blackberry Honey: Any sweet honey with a nice fruity flavour will do, but blackberry is just sooo good.*
Black Cardamom Pods: Other cardamoms can be used as a substitute but they won't give it a nice smoky flavour.*
Blood Oranges: Try to get blood oranges because they have a certain intensity and tang, but any other sweet and sour orange will work great. *
Sanitizing Vessel: This should be solid and large enough to hold all the equipment you need for each step of the brewing process. I use a big Rubbermaid container.
Sanitizer: Make sure you read the instructions for your sanitizer and get something food-safe. You can use unscented household bleach diluted to 4ml per Liter of water (1 tbsp per gallon) but make sure you rinse it really well or the mead will taste off.
Carboy: Any fermentation will do as long as it's nonreactive, BPA free and foodsafe with some kind of one-way air release valve or a hole that will fit an airlock setup.
Coffee Mug: Doesn't have to be a coffee mug but it should be big enough to hold yeast and a cup of warm water. This will be your yeast starter vessel.
Airlock Setup: Usually a 3-piece thing that fills with water only lets the CO2 escape and no contaminated air into the brew. The important thing is that no contaminated air gets into the mead. A simple balloon with a pinhole in it covering the top of the fermentation vessel works well.
Beer or Wine Bottles: These must be capable of withstanding the pressure of a carbonated beverage, no bottle-splosions here! If you choose to use wine bottles get ones with swing tops or champagne corks with cages.
*Don't listen to me about the ingredients, do whatever you want with your own mead and then post awesome recipes in the comments!
Image: My first brewed batch of Fire Mead.