There’s quite a lot going on at the moment in my little kitchen alchemy lab, as the corner by the microwave has come to be dubbed! I’ve just been bottling up the strawberry and tropical melomels (fruit mead) that were started back in August, along with an experimental coffee mead. There are 4 gallon demi-johns bubbling away too; two are plum melomel, one is jasmine green tea mead (technically a metheglyn – that is, a herbal mead), and the fourth is another experiment – Yuletide spiced tea honey wine. I’ve also got three 2-litre batches going; one is a passionfruit melomel (made with passionfruit foraged from a vine that had escaped someone’s garden and fruited heavily in what little sunshine we’ve had this year), and the other is chamomile and vanilla honey wine. The last – started off this morning – is another batch of the short (or “sack”) spiced orange mead using the recipe in my previous post.
This evening I’ve also been preparing the chocolate syrup for another 1-gallon batch of my chocolate mead, which always seems to go down a treat. It makes a lovely, unusual sipping mead – but you can also freeze it (known as ice distillation – legal in the UK and most US states, but check your local regulations & restrictions before chucking bottles of alcohol in the freezer!) to make a very nice, smooth chocolate mead liqueur that is very potent but also very tasty!
Recipe: Chocolate Mead
(Brews 1 gallon/5 litres)
- 1 tablespoon black treacle
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 5 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 handful (about 2-3 tablespoons) dried mixed fruit
- 5 jars honey
- 4 litres warm water
- 1 teaspoon winemaking yeast
Melt the treacle and syrup in a pan; add 2 cups of the water. Add cocoa powder, mix until dissolved. Bring briefly to the boil then remove from the heat. Stir in the honey, then gradually add the remaining water until all the honey & chocolate syrup is thoroughly dissolved. Leave to one side to cool until it reaches about 20°C.
Pour about a cup of the must into a clean jam-jar, add the yeast, cap tightly and shake thoroughly. Loosen the cap and leave in a warm place until the yeast has activated and started to froth.
Add the yeast starter back to the must, whisk thoroughly to incorporate lots of air. Carefully pour into a clean demijohn, add the dried fruit, then agitate thoroughly. Cap and insert airlock (or fit balloon if using the balloon airlock method described in the orange spiced mead recipe) then put in a warm place to brew.
It should be ready for racking about a month after starting; strain off the fruit at this point through a fine nylon net. Once racked into a clean demijohn, it will need to sit for a further month or two before being bottled. As with any mead, the longer it is matured in the bottle before drinking the better it will taste!
If making chocolate mead liqueur by the ice distillation method, it should be ready after about a month of bottling. Pour 1 litre into a clean plastic 2-litre milk jug, cap tightly and leave in the frwwzer overnight before decanting off the liquid into a fresh clean bottle. 1 litre of mead will yield about 200ml of chocolate mead liqueur, which is best kept in a dark glass bottle tightly capped/corked.