Traditional recipes

Are Chile-Infused Juices the Next Big Thing?

Are Chile-Infused Juices the Next Big Thing?

The chile-infused non-alcoholic drink Caliente is turning up the heat as an alternative to traditional soft drinks

This is the future of clean water supplies across the world.

Here’s a new substitute for sugary soft drinks and juices: chile-infused non-alcoholic drinks.That’s the concept behind Caliente, which makes two spicy drinks: cranberry, pomegranate, and chile; and ginger, lime, and chile. Caliente is a Swedish startup with plans to expand to other locations in Europe and Asia, but no word yet on whether the drinks will be released in the United States.

The organic drink line is free from added sugar and artificial preservatives. As an added bonus, the drinks contain the chile extract capsaicin, which triggers an endorphin release, giving drinkers a “natural kick.”

“We’re meeting this need, delivering an all-natural juice drink with a punch – perfect to sip on instead of alcohol,” creator Thomas Adner told FoodBev. The punch is created by a chile extract called capsaicin, which triggers the release of endorphins. It gives you a natural kick and rewards your brain. Plus, you won’t get a headache by drinking it. And you can drive home afterwards.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


The Rise of Mead: The Craft Movement's Next Big Thing

Is mead the oldest fermented drink? Maybe, says Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood.

“The trend toward ‘craft’ food and drinks has been well underway for decades,” says Rutzen. “Organic and locally-sourced foods, beer made by your friends, artisan distilleries, inventive cocktail recipes, and now the recent rise of cider have all been a part of rediscovering lost traditions and searching for new horizons. It was only a matter of time before this new generation of thoughtful beverage makers turned their attention towards mead.”

As we witnessed with craft beer’s explosion, mead it starting to take off as more people want to experiment with new flavors and ingredients. In mead’s case, honey plays a starring role and one of the reasons mead might have come to be.

Brian Rutzen, Cider Director, at The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro in Chicago, believes rediscovering . [+] lost traditions and searching for new horizons are among the reasons we're seeing a rise in mead. (Photo courtesy of The Northman Cider Pub & Bistro.)

“Many fruits and vegetables were often kept in jars of honey as a way to preserve fresh foods,” explains Rutzen. “Over time and exposure to natural yeasts, the honey fermented and created the first alcoholic substance. The rest is history.”

Mead, is should be noted, is sometimes referred to as honey wine since the majority of fermentable sugar comes from honey. “It has some properties and notes similar to champagne, but usually sweeter and more viscous,” describes Rutzen, who adds that one can also blend honey with fruit juice (melomel) or spices (methaglin) to make it lighter and balance out the sweetness. The ABV usually ranges from 6 - 20%, with an average of around 11%, he adds.

Finding it on the menu isn’t always easy, although it’s certainly getting easier as more bars are starting to stock one or two brands and more meaderies open and bartenders experiment. It’s also a popular alternative to beer for those who are gluten-intolerant since mead is fermented honey and water or juice in its natural form. Note, though, that braggots marries mead and beer, meaning it might include malt, hops or yeast which will be problematic for those with a gluten intolerance.

The American Mead Makers Association has a whole area on their website dedicated to those interested in opening a meadery and the HomebrewersAssociation.org includes a section on Mead Making on its site, for home brewing enthusiasts.

For those seeking to try it, seek out bars with a respectable cider offerings. Of the 22 cider lines at The Northman, one has always been dedicated to draught mead. Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery offers a Mead Club for 3, 6 and 12-months that sends two new bottles selected for members.

“In mid-February, we will launch a new ‘by-the-glass’ program offering several options for bottled meads,” adds Rutzen. “They can range in flavor profiles, from hopped blackberry or chili pepper meads, to a modern take on an Arnold Palmer, by blending honey with lemon juice and black tea.”

He admits that his guests tend to already be adventurous drinkers, and are eager to explore mead as well.

“In many ways, it is the happy medium between a cider and a cocktail,” he says. “The wild flavor combinations could even lend themselves as welcome additions to creative new cocktail recipes.”


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