Vikings + Mead = ? What is Viking Mead

Is there such a thing as Viking Mead?

Maybe Game of Thrones gets too much credit for mead’s public “reawakening.” At Batch Mead, we think of mead like oxygen. Always there – so much so, that sometimes you forget it exists. Plus, wasn’t the most fervent Game of Thrones alcohol consumer (Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion Lannister) popping back a glass of wine more often than not?

Regardless, with a heightened public interest of the Middle Ages at large, we’re often asked “Is there such a thing as Viking mead?” That is, a connection between ye olde Scandinavian raiders and traders, and the ancient honey wine beverage?

Let’s consider.

What is Mead?

One of the world’s oldest alcoholic concoctions, mead is a combination of fermented water and honey. Spices, fruits, grains, and hops can be added to create diverse flavors. Despite its ancient roots, it’s almost a certainty that it flowed its way through the Middle Ages.  

Mead variations by language: ”Old English: medu, meodu”, Old Norse mjöð, ”Danish: Mjød”.

Vikings & Alcohol

By now, we’re well aware of the Vikings’ proclivity for drinking. And since they spent many days battling the elements of Mother Nature, it’s only fair to assume that the alcohol provided some much-needed warmth.

Vikings brewed their own beer, mead, and wine. Mead, however (often considered a drink of royalty), was most likely reserved for special occasions.

Viking Mead

So, the connection? Take one-part mead history and one-part Viking alcohol habits, mix together, and you have Viking mead.

Notable, too, is that the beverage was probably produced at differing levels of quality. The Vikings were knowledgeable on beekeeping practices. They collected pure honey by placing the combs from a beehive into a cloth bag and allowing them to drain. Then, in an effort to not be wasteful, they took the drained combs and crushed them (along with the beehive) into water.

The pure, extracted honey produced the highest quality of mead, while the crushed beehive produced something of lesser value. Both were consumed, pending social class.

Last (and most important question) – did the Vikings consume their mead from horns?

The short answer? Yes.

Did Vikings Drink from Horns?

But not all the time. Historians have long found horns around Scandinavia that confirm the most popular depiction of a Viking. Like the mead of the Vikings’ time, the horns came in different varieties, some as-is and some bejeweled with gold or silver.

We don’t know if every Viking drank from a horn, but what we do know is that mead was sure to be tasted by plenty, no matter the vessel!

Want to drink like a Viking? Hop on over to our shop to order some meads!

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