Gentlemen, you better get ready to put on your brewing shoes and make some mead!
The recipe I've followed is the Ancient Orange Cinnamon & Clove Mead which is about as basic as you can get, spend 20 minutes putting a whole bunch of junk into a container and then let it sit for a few months until it's turned into delicious nectar from the heavens. So if you've got a spare 20 minutes and are keen to be a real man to brew your own poison, read on!
Note: I'm new to this, this is only my first batch so my word is not gospel. If you want to get deeper into it check out Got Mead for all of your meady needs and check the original recipe linked above.
First things first, collect the needed ingredients. I went down to the local grocery shop and picked most of them up (had the spices at home) for around $25.
The yeast might either be in the drinks (coke etc) section along with the beer brewing kits or in the baking section with the flour and junk. I used a 4L jug of water for the container but am really wishing I used some kind of glass vessel, perhaps next time I'll hit up a bottle shop - don't they sell giant bottles of sherry for $10 or something?
1. 4L container
2. 1.6kg of honey
3. 1 teaspoons of Bread Yeast
4. A pinch of nutmeg of all spice
5. 1 large orange
6. 1 cinnamon stick
7. A small handful (~25) small rasins
8. 1 clove
9. 1-2 rubber bands
10. 1 normal sized balloon
Once you have gathered the ingredients we need to prepare the area. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and wipe down your bench top, we don't want any contaminents creeping in to spoil the batch. The last thing we want is to pour out 4 litres of hard work down the drain that could have been delicious liquid gold.
When you are satisfied with your cleaning you must dissolve the honey into water. I used a litre of water as the recipe wasn't specific but it went smoothly. Simple tap water seemed fine, not too hot that it burns you but not cold either, warm means warm. Plonk the honey in and stir it around with a wooden spoon until it's all dissolved, this didn't take long at all.
When it is dissolved you must put it into your container, use a funnel! I used a cup to pour it in at a managable amount.
Now that the honey liquid is in it's time to add the rest of the ingredients.. minus the rubber band and balloons. Wash the orange well (to get rid of the pesticides and sticker residue) then cut into eighths and poke through the hole - rind is fine and dandy too. Put the rest of the junk in then fill it up with cold tap water - make sure you leave a ~3 inch gap at the top for foaming.
Whack the lid on and shake it up for a decent 30 seconds - this is the sophisticated aeration process passed down from generation to generation.
Wait until it's room temperature then add the 1 teaspoon of yeast, give it a swirl so it's not sitting on top of the orange pieces then we need to seal it up.
Take your balloon and put 10-12 pin holes in the big round bit. Put that over the hole of the jug and put a rubber band or two over the threaded bit to make sure it's air tight. The goal here is to allow the gas created by the yeast out but nothing else in. As the gas gets made the balloon will expand, when it gets big enough air can get through the holes you poked and will close up immediately without letting anything else in as it will shrink, closing the holes.
Make sure you label it properly as above so that no-one moves it and you know when it will be ready. The mead should be ready to drink in 2 months and a few days, mine should be ready just in time for Christmas! You must store it in a cool, dark place. A kitchen cupboard or at the bottom of a pantry is recommended - somewhere that isn't used much and is out of the way.
This method doesn't need any racking, stirring or adding extra junk (except maybe a little bit more water after a few days without stirring it after) as it's as simple as you can get and basically fool proof.
I had great fun making this, it was something out of the ordinary and will hopefully reap delicious rewards. I hope to do some more research on more sophisticated methods and recipes and maybe even visit the local brewing shop for a decent container and some tips. I encourage everyone to give it a shot as it's cheap and fun and just something different to do on a lazy afternoon.