The very easy way to make a small batch of mead, using only things you’re practically guaranteed to find at your local grocery store, is:
- 1/2 lb honey (ideally orange blossom, avoid buckwheat)
- 2 cups water (ideally spring, avoid chlorine)
- 1/4 teaspoon regular bread yeast
- Two very clean glass jars, at least about 24-oz capacity (spaghetti sauce jars will do fine)
- A clean piece cloth to cover the jar mouth
- A rubber-band (or piece of string) to hold that in place
- Mix all ingredients in one jar
- Cover its mouth with the cloth
- Hold that in place with the band/string
- Place somewhere roughly room-temp, out of direct sunlight
- Wait for it to start bubbling (anywhere from a couple hours to days)
- Wait for it to stop bubbling (from a couple weeks to months)
- Pour carefully into other jar, leaving behind as much of the sludge at the bottom as possible
Congratulations, you’ve just made your first batch of mead! It will probably be about 12% ABV (same as most wine), and semi-sweet, but might be a little weaker and sweeter, or stronger and dryer. In the former case, there’s not much you can easily do, but in the latter case, you can add more honey.
WARNING: Do not seal it up tight, at any point in this process, even after pouring! So long as there’s any possibility that there is still some fermentation going on, sealing it up tight creates the potential for what we call a “bottle bomb”. The name may sound fun, but they’re not. They can even burst hard enough to injure you, if you get hit with the glass shrapnel.
Next time, you can try adding some fruits, herbs, spices, or other flavorings, and/or using different kinds of honey. (You can even try omitting the bread yeast, and let whatever wild yeast floats in, have at it!) If you decide you like it, you can scale up the recipe, or even do it the same way real hobbyists make it. It’s a little more involved, and requires buying some things you probably won’t find at your grocery store, but still not very difficult, nor is the equipment expensive. More on that coming to this site . . . eventually.