Mead Lover's Digest #0337 Thu 11 August 1994


Forum for Discussion of Mead Making and Consuming
Dick Dunn, Digest Coordinator



sassafras (Patrick Casey)
re: Distilled Mead? (dick dunn)
more on herbs and such (Scott Murphy)
Mr. Masillon's Liege Mead (Joyce Miller)


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Subject: sassafras
From: (Patrick Casey)
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 94 13:19:55 EDT

Dick Dunn writes:
> Coyote asks (referring to my mention of all the herbs mentioned in Digby's
> metheglins):
> > SO: Dick- did you ever compile that herb list onto electronic format?
> > I'd love to have a look at it. I figure anything I like the taste or
> > smell of I'd be willing to try. I'll probably avoid such things as
> > Rue and Pennyroyal as their "qualities" are somewhat suspect.
> > Wouldn't want to poison myself or others. (anymore than I already do!)


> Funny thing about wanting to be careful…I thought it would be nice to
> find out anything that's known about bad effects of herbs/spices/roots/
> etc.–for example, that relatively recently, sassafras was found not to be
> so good–so I tried to get info out of the FDA. (Non-US folks: that's the

I ran across an interesting point about sassafras in my _Peterson's
Guide to Medicinal Plants_. It said something to the effect that
sassafras has been found to be carcinogenic and banned by the FDA, but
that it works out something like the sassafras in a can of sassafras
root beer is 1/10th as carcinogenic as the alcohol in a can of beer…

I can check exact numbers and quotations tonight. But to me this says
"in all things moderation". But beware there are still some herbs
out there that are probably harmful for real, just don't always trust
the FDA maybe. Or something… huh huh, nevermind…


  • Patrick


Subject: re: Distilled Mead?
From: (dick dunn)
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 94 13:36:25 MDT (Zhahai Stewart) wrote:
> A friend asked me to check if there exists a distilled version of mead,
> as with sherry and wine – or if anybody had experimented with this. Any
> takers?

It's mentioned a couple times in Gayre/Papazian, as an academic just-in-
passing sort of thing, with the note that home distillation is against the
law in the US. There's also a claim that distilled mead wouldn't require
any aging to be drinkable. That's not explained (and gosh, how would you
know if it's illegal to try it and find out?:-)

I thought distillation was mentioned in Morse, but I can't find it.

Overall it's an awkward situation, at least in the US: You can't make a
mead brandy yourself because it's VERY illegal to distill at home. But
without knowing what it's like, there's no way for a licensed (i.e.,
commercial) distiller to decide that it's worth the hassle of making some.
Moreover, the distiller would have to start with a substantial amount of
good mead, I assume made very dry (so as not to get sugar in the still)–
and that would be hard to come by, given what the few commercial meaderies
in the US are producing.

Dick Dunn -or- buffalo!rcd Boulder, CO

Mr Natural says, "Get the right tool for the job!"


Subject: more on herbs and such
From: Scott Murphy <>
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 1994 15:58:49 PDT

As a starter for the truly motivated…

I remember perusing a volumn on the effects and toxicity of various spices.
It was a thin paperback book written for cooks, and it detailed potential
problems with certain spices used in cookery. The one that springs most
readily to mind is nutmeg. In large quantities, it is hallucinagenic; while
in sufficient quantities, it can be fatal.

I unfortunately cannot remember the name of this book, its publisher or its
ISBN number.

P.s. check out Burrough's Naked Lunch for a much abbreviated list.

Subject: Mr. Masillon's Liege Mead
From: (Joyce Miller)
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 09:22:05 -0400

>From Kenelme Digby, 1669:

A Receipt to make Metheglin as it is made at Liege, Communicated by
Mr. Masillon.

TAke one Measure of Honey, and three Measures of Water, and let it boil

till one measure be boiled away, so that there be left three measures in
all; as for Example, take to one Pot of Honey, three Pots of Water, and let
it boil so long, till it come to three Pots. During which time you must
Skim it very well as soon as any scum riseth; which you are to continue
till there rise no scum more. You may, if you please, put to it some
spice, to wit, Cloves and Ginger; the quantity of which is to be
proportioned according as you will have your Meath, strong, or weak. But
this you do before it begin to boil. There are some that put either Yeast
of Beer, or Leaven of bread into it, to make it work. But this is not
necessary at all; and much less to set it into the Sun. Mr. Masillon doth
neither the one nor the other. Afterwards for to Tun it, you must let it
grow Luke warn, for to advance it. And if you do intend to keep your
Meathe a long time, you may put into it some hopps on this fashion. Take
to every Barrel of Meathe a Pound of Hops without leaves, that is, of
Ordinary Hops used for Beer, but well cleansed, taking only the Flowers,
without the Green-leaves and stalks. Boil this pound of Hops in a Pot and
half of fair water, till it come to one Pot, and this quantity is
sufficient for a Barrel of Meathe. A barrel at Liege holdeth ninety Pots,
and a Pot is much as Wine quart in England. (I have since been in formed
from Liege, that a Pot of that Countrey holdeth 48 Ounces of Apothecary's
measure: which I judge to be a Pottle according to London measure, or two
Wine-quarts.) When you Tun your Meath, you must not fill your Barrel by
half a foot, that so it may have room to work. Then let it stand six weeks
slightly stopped; which being expired, if the Meath do not work, stop it up
very close. Yet must you not fill up the Barrel to the very brim. After
six Months you draw off the clear into another Barrel, or strong Bottles,
leaving the dregs, and filling up your new Barrel, or Bottels, and stopping
it or them very close.

The meath that is made this way, (Viz. In the Spring, in the Month of

April or May, which is the proper time for making of it,) will keep many a


End of Mead Lover's Digest #337