I was looking through Ambrose Heath’s little book about home-made wines and liqueurs; it was published in the early 1950’s but I’m sure some of the recipes went back many years. He was born in 1891 so it may well be that the recipes he wrote and the articles he published about food were informed in some part by his parents who were born in the 1860’s.
I was looking at recipes for mead and came across the word ‘metheglin’ which I had never heard of before. Metheglin, it seems is a spiced mead, or mead which ahs other flavours such as herbs added to it. The word comes from Welsh and means healing liquor – I suppose that the sort of drink made for coughs and colds, whisky, lemon, ginger, honey, would not be dissimilar, and that combination of ingredients is just the thing for coughs, colds and general poorly feelings.
I did a little research and looked at various recipes – not because I wanted to make any, but I was just interested in what different flavours might be used. I came across one with rosemary, thyme, sage, hyssop, bay, orange and lemon zest, allspice, cloves, root ginger and Earl Grey tea! Another had vanilla, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, allspice and orange juice, which sounds rather Christmassy! Another had interesting sounding ingredients, spices as the other recipes did, cloves, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, hibiscus flowers, orange peel, hyssop, ginger and vanilla… and then fenugreek and wormwood. That sound more like a medicine than a pleasant drink. I even found one flavoured with lavender, apparently a favourite of Samuel Pepys, but that really does not appeal at all!
I didn’t like mead very much on the couple of occasions I tried it, I’m not sure I would like metheglin either, however Ambrose heath extols it!