This is the first mead that we ever made, and it turned out so amazing… everything else has pretty much paled in comparison. Definitely one of our top 3 favorite homemade wine recipes!
If you’re going to make a batch of this, act fast – we used peels from “Cuties” oranges, which are only in season for a few months each year. Love them… I can snarf a crate by myself, in a sitting, if left to my own devices. Yum. Anyway, I think their season end is coming up, so stock up! This starts out incredibly fragrant – almost like a delicious, fruity tea – but don’t drink much of it before fermenting! The finished product is even better!
Another nice thing about this wine is that it is very good when fairly “young”, compared to many meads – At only 6 months old, this tasted amazing. Age it if you like – we haven’t been able to keep any long enough to see how it ages. Our first 5 gallon batch was almost all gone LONG before the next Cuties season had started!
|Homemade Cuties Mead Recipe
4 gallons spring water
Heat 3 gallons of the water to a simmer. Add honey, stir until dissolved.
Add ginger, vanilla beans (scraping seeds into the mixture before adding the pods), peels, juice, rosemary, and spices. Bring mixture back up to a simmer and keep it there – just simmering, not boiling – for about 45 minutes.
Strain mixture into a sanitized bucket, removing herbs, spices, and fruit. Cover bucket with sanitized lid, allow to cool to room temperature.
Using a sanitized funnel, transfer cooled mixture to a sanitized 5 gallon carboy, topping up with remaining water until carboy is almost full. Swirl to combine.
Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading. It should be in around the 1.088 area. Keep track of the number!
Sprinkle yeast into carboy, cover with sanitized air lock. Let sit, undisturbed, overnight.
Within 24 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the wine must. This means you’re good to go! Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month.
Using sanitized equipment, rack the clarified wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 5 gallon carboy. Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.
Repeat racking process. Leave wine alone for a month or two. By 6 months in, your mead should be very clear, and VERY tasty!
Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading, then rack the mead into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork. (We like to use these for corking our homemade wine. Easy to use – no special equipment needed! – easy to uncork, and – should you have any wine left in your bottle after serving (pfft!), the “cork” is easily replaced for temporary storage!)
Enjoy.. and start planning for next year’s batch(es)!