Gosnells takes Mead out of the Dark Ages and gives London its very first Vintage Mead

Tom Gosnell, owner of London’s only Meadery, launches his first ever Vintage Mead. Peter Morrell was there

Made from just honey, water, yeast and time, Gosnells Meads are a modern approach to a traditional British drink, using unconventional yeasts – and then pasteurising lightly to leave more residual honey-sugar and balance.

Tom Gosnell comments:

I am just back from the US where Mead is buzzing. In America, Mead sales grew by 130% from 2012 and 2013, according to the American Mead Makers Association, largely due to the huge success of the TV series Game Of Thrones. Mead has come a long way from the days of monks, sorcery and enchanted castles. US Mead makers are looking to the future, and not to the past, un-hindered by our British monastic tradition of making it deep yellow, at high alcohol and outrageously sweet. The monks needed it for internal warmth and to wax the vocal chords, but central heating and a modern palate have changed all that. So, 5 years ago, I started to make a lighter, drier style more akin to a buttery Chardonnay or a Blanc de Blancs Champagne. And as it is a mere 5.5% abv, we now find it in a wide diversity of London restaurants served as an alternative to wine:

  • Core by Clare Smyth – Modern British
  • Bao Restaurants – Taiwanese
  • Portland Restaurant – Modern European
  • The Grazing Goat, Marylebone – Gastropub
  • The Dairy, Clapham – Seasonal British

London bars are cottoning on to the versatility of modern meads as well, with the likes of Nightjar, Clove Club and Bar Swift using the Mead as a complex base for all sorts of fascinating cocktails such as with lime juice and Tequila (‘Meadarita’), with lemon and Gin, or with Rum and Ginger.

Gosnells Vintage Mead was made in October in Gosnells Peckham Meadery, then fermented for a month to demonstrate the purity of the honey’s urban roots. I had always dreamt of making a Mead with local London honey – something that completely encompassed the flowers and blossom of the city – and I am really pleased with the results. It’s amazing the variation in flavour you get between different honeys, and with the different weather-derived blossoms of each year. The hot summer of 2018 meant that the flowering season in London was earlier than usual, and this has led to more typically autumnal flavours than you would find in our Gosnell’s 5.5%. It is incredibly complex and deep, with notes of blackcurrant, sloe and a hint of spice. It has a totally different taste profile from our core offering, our Gosnells ‘Lightly Sparkling Modern Mead’, which is 5.5%abv and made from the honeys of orange groves in eastern Spain.

Gosnells Vintage Mead 2018 is made from 100% London honey, sourced from hives in Woodberry Wetlands N16 and Lea Bridge Road E10. It has been specially brewed at the same strength as most wines, 12% abv, and presented in a beautiful wax-embossed 75cl bottle.

It will be priced at £25 and available from today on https://www.gosnells.co.uk

Peter Morrell, Food and Drink editor added “Tom has made a 21st century drink based on the traditions of the past. The lightly sparkling mead is ideal as an aperitif and the vintage can be sipped to enjoy it’s rounded complexity or as a base for sophisticated rum, vodka and whisky cocktails.”