Monday, 23 January 2012

Keep Warm on a Winter Night!

With winter still here, and with temperatures staying below zero I've got another suggestion how to keep warm on a winter night. For those who would rather opt for something more than hot chocolate, polish booze selection has plenty to choose from . Personally, in the autumn-winter season I go for two things - mulled wine (properly spiced - so as it is plenty fragrant), or better still - mead! I don't think I need to describe mulled wine to anyone, though mead deserves a brief description as it's not quite as widely known, yet it is one of the products my home country takes pride in!
Also known as "drinking honey" or "honey wine", mead used to be a traditional drink in Medieval European countries (especially Poland and Lithuania), where monks used to keep bees for wax, and mead was basically a by-product, believe it on not!
It is an alcoholic drink created by combining fermented honey with water, and it often comes in nice clay, Medieval-style bottles as shown in the pictures below. There are four varieties named according to proportion of mead to water., thus we have:

Półtorak (1.5 unit of honey to 1 unit of water) - by far the best, vastly superior over the other types. Really sweeeeeeeeeeet :) For me - ideal!  

Dwójniak (1 unit of mead to 1 unit of water) - not far behind the "póltorak" - a good alternative for those who don't have such a sweet tooth :)

Trójniak (1 unit of mead to 2 units of water) though this type has its fans, to me, it is like a cheap substitute. If I can get półtorak or dwójniak, I will pass on this one!  

Czwórniak (1 unit of mead to 3 units of water) - might be a experience for beginners - to help you decide if you are at all in this kind of drinks.  

I have recently found out that meads are also diluted further, to "piątniak" type (1 unit of mead to 4 units of water) - and I find it really hard to believe that you can taste anything in it, then again, I've always been fussy with food and drinks :)

All meads can be served either cold or hot, however I must say that heating it up highlights the scent and adds the finishing touch to the entire mead experience. Thus, I always heat my mead, and keep it hot, or insist on having it served hot if I order it at cafes. At home I've got a clever little thing shown in the picture bellow that keeps my mead hot and fills the room with a wonderful scent. 
The only tricky thing here is that the meads are so sweet and nice tasting that it's easy to forget how strong they really are! And believe you me, they are strong - containing between 8 and 18% of alcohol. Nothing will keep you warmer on a freezing winter night! :)

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