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Party like a Viking . . . maybe not

May 17, 2018

 

 

A few days ago, I finished formatting A Trail of Embers, ordered a proof copy and sat back to wait for it to arrive. When I reached this point with my first book, The Christmas Presence, my sister gave me a card and a bottle of mead from Golden Age Meadery, located in Richmond, BC.

 

It there a better way to toast the completion of a book about a dragon’s egg, a street girl and a tracker. I doubt it. It was time to crack open the bottle, pour a glass, and wave my book on its way. After all, in a time of dragons, magic, mages, and odysseys, there were likely lots of people sitting back, swilling honey wine at their local watering holes.

 

So why did she give me mead? Mead—because she knows I love epic adventure, and that I love reading as well as writing fantasy. There’s nothing better than stumbling onto a book that pulls you into another world, unless it’s finding out that the book is part of a series. Throw in some likable characters, stunning world-building, some convoluted adventure, and I’m in. Picking mead was also probably related to the fact she was touring a meadery.

 

I haven’t tasted mead in a long time. In keeping with world building, I poured the amber nectar of the gods into a painted goblet and took a sip of summery sweetness. Sitting there in the silence, I thought about dragons, adventure, and mead. I was feeling pretty good, and as I sipped my mead, I realized that my small bottle of honey wine is a lot stronger than an equally small bottle of wine.

 

Carefully, I decanted half my glass back into the bottle and sent my sister a text with the message:

 

 

I ended up pouring half back into the bottle. Those Vikings were tough dudes.

 

Her answer:

 

They were, and when they weren’t being tough, they were drunk!

 

 

 

Yup, just like I would be if I finished my goblet.

 

Mead is potent stuff weighing in at a whopping 18% alcohol.

 

Out of curiosity, I looked up some other alcohol percentages.

 

Here’s some ABV (alcohol by volume) info that I discovered:

 

            Fortified wine             16-24%

            Tequila                      50-51%

            Beer                          4-8%

            Vodka                        40-95%

 

But wait, my bottle of mead is more than just fermented honey; it's loaded with herbs:

 

Wildflowers, honey, raspberry, Stevia, sage, dandelion, nettle, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf and Schisandra

(I had to look that one up)

Does that make my drink a tonic?

 

Sipping my mead also made me wonder what mead was like a thousand years ago, at a time when people first figured out how to ferment honey into drink. The thought is a little daunting. There were no quality control tests regulating alcohol percentage, no rules about additives, no sterilization to make sure your amphorae were clean, and I’m betting they weren't much into filtration systems .

 

I did a little reading on the process of making mead. I stumbled on the writings of Jereme Zimmerman (RedHeadedYeti). He not only loves mead but makes his own. He shares his take on the Mead Creation story on his blog (he shares recipes for the more adventurous as well).

 

As I recapped my bottle of mead and placed it back on the counter, I realized something, the next time I watch HBO’s The Vikings, I’ll be seeing things in a whole new light.

 

 

Party like a Viking? No thanks. I'll sip my ration of mead from a small wine glass because I’m not a Viking. So, a toast to A Trail of Embers, to quote Neil Young, Long may you run.

 

 

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