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The Drinks Tray: Mead in England
Some will tell you that the one characteristic that sets us as a species apart from all the others is our ability to shape our environment. Some will say that our mastery of fire and metallurgy makes us special, and others will tell you that it’s language that’s the key distinction, or consciousness.
It’s obviously booze.
That’s our trademark. Every time we discover a source of food that contains sugar or starch, like grain, apples, grapes, potatoes or even beetroot, we set to work figuring out how we can change it into something drinky.
It didn’t take us long to work out that honey could be used. In fact, mead can reasonably lay claim to being the oldest alcoholic drink in the world. (It’s somehow reassuring to think that, in the dim, overcast days of pre-history, people were getting a little buzzed on a Monday afternoon – before Mondays even existed.)
The Vikings were fans of this honey-based brew and no doubt a tot was a welcome refreshment after a hard day’s pillaging. Similarly, the Anglo-Saxons weren’t averse to a tipple after what one suspects was an even harder day’s getting pillaged.
But as pillaging and getting pillaged were superseded first by reading, then by watching telly and then by staring at an iPhone as the nation’s favourite pass-time, so mead’s tide ebbed.
Fortunately, it’s back - and a Kentish brand called Marourde is at least partly responsible.
At 5.5%, this crisp, slightly sparkling drink is, we think, an excellent option if you’re not feeling beery but nor are you sure that cider’s going to hit the spot. Not too sweet but not too dry, it’s as welcome an accompaniment to a pork pie in the summer sunshine as to a steak and kidney pudding on a winter’s afternoon.
Just visit www.marourde.com to see about getting your hands on some.