Also called honey wine, or Te'j by our Ethiopian brothers and sisters, Mead is an alcoholic drink brewed from honey. It's been made for thousands of years, which makes it seem all the more appropriate for the High Holidays. For my apple and honey fix this year, I concocted a recipe for Cider and Mead Sangria. I started with the basic sangria concept of mixing wine with fruit, but substituted mead for wine.
The label on the bottle of Sheba T'ej (brewed by Brotherhood Winery, right here in New York State) that I used even says that mead is [r]eferred to throughout the Holy Scriptures. (Those of you who know where I might find these mead references, do let me know.) My fruit element consisted of apples and hard cider. For an added bit of holiday cheer, I used a shot (or four) of rum. So here's how it goes:
- Dice a couple of apples. For color variation, I used one green Granny Smith and one red Gala, but use whatever kind of apple looks good to you at the market.
- Macerate (that's fancy-talk for soak) the fruit in about three cups (or one 750ml bottle) of mead in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, if you're not in too much of a hurry.
- Once the time's up, or your patience runs out, add about one-and-a-half cups of hard cider. Hard ciders can run the gamut from bone-dry to candy-sweet. I used a bottle of Woodchuck Granny Smith Draft Cider, which falls somewhere in the middle of that range.
- This next step is optional but special to me since I learned it from my dear departed Aunt Susie: Add a bit of rum. How much and what sort are up to you. I wouldn't use complete swill, but something really nice, like 10 Cane, would probably be wasted here.
- Once you've decided the rum issue, give your sangria a gentle stir, divvy it up into glasses and garnish with mint. What's the significance of the mint? It's pretty.
We all wish for a sweet year and – don't get me wrong – sweet is good. But sweet and pretty? Now that's really good.