What is Viking Mead? How to Get Viking's Mead!

What is Viking Mead?

Viking Mead is a type of alcoholic beverage that has been enjoyed by people for centuries. Made from fermented honey, water and sometimes fruit or spices, it has a sweet taste and a high alcohol content.

Often Game of Thrones gets too much credit for mead’s public “reawakening.” Mead is far from a new trend, however the popular HBO show did bring mead into the spotlight once again. The beverage has also been mentioned in popular fantasy franchises, further solidifying its cultural relevance in modern times. In the Witcher series, mead is often consumed by Geralt and other characters during their travels, painting a vivid picture of the medieval atmosphere of the universe. Similarly, in the Harry Potter series, mead appears as a popular drink in the wizarding world. Professor Dumbledore, in particular, is known for his fondness for oak-matured mead. These references to mead in contemporary media have helped revive interest in this ancient beverage, leading to its resurgence in popularity.

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 Viking's 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.

Viking mead would be likely more diluted (4-8% Alc), made with more water than honey, due to the resources available to Vikings. 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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Viking Mead FAQs

What does Viking Mead taste like?

Sweet and light, it's unique, but can be compared to a Moscato wine. Typical viking mead, alcohol level ranges from 4-8%, but can be higher. Mead is sweet and deceptively crushable, with a big honey flavor. Yes, you'll get buzzed on Viking Mjod. There are subtle notes of vanilla, marshmallow and oak.

Did Vikings make mead?

Yes, Vikings brewed their own mead, beer, and wine. Although mead was likely reserved for special occasions. Lighter alcohol drinks (like light beer) were used in place of water as it was less likely to make people sick.

Why did Vikings drink so much mead?

It quenched the Viking thirst! Viking food was thought to be incredibly salty, as salt was used as a preservative and to ward off bacteria. Mead is a sweet fermented drink made from honey that pairs well with salty foods.

Is drinking mead good for you?

Mead is believed to have the health benefits of honey as long as the honey is not boiled during fermentation. Although there is no scientific source that has statements related to mead.

Did Vikings drink at mead halls?

Yes they did! Mead halls were a place for gathering, with large communal tables for enjoying mead and feasting together. Read more about mead halls.