Gvirc/Mead

Gvirc/Mead

has been consumed around the world for thousands of years. Gvirc, gverc or mead is considered one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world.In Croatia, it was traditionally made by bee keepers, in the north-western and Zagreb regions, and sold at local fairs and religious festivals. Mead is wine made of fermented local honey of a darker colour, such as chestnut honey. It is made in the same way as grape wine and the resulting alcoholic beverage contains about 14 per cent ABV.

 

Like regular wine, mead is made from grapes. Grapes are mashed and ground in a clean canister and then water and honey are added and mixed well. The mixture is poured into a large bottle which must be shaken well a couple of times so that the grape skins fall to the bottom. The bottle is kept at room temperature, and after two or three days the process of fermentation begins and lasts about one week. The mixture is then used to prepare mead, first by boiling and cooling a large amount of water. Water prepared in this way is placed into the pot again and on the fire. Honey is then added to the mixture, half the amount of the amount of water in the pot. The ingredients are then mixed well and heated slowly until the honey has melted. Once the ingredients are well blended, the mixture is cooled and poured into a large glass jar. Afterwards, the previously prepared mixture of grapes and honey is added. The contents of the jar are mixed well, covered with a gauze and stored somewhere warm. After about a week, another fermentation occurs and a new dose of cold, boiled water is added. The bottle is sealed with a fermentation lock. Mead ferments for about three months. During that time, it is decanted in order to separate out the sediment. The alcohol content in the beverage depends on the length of fermentation.

 

Apart for pleasure, mead was also traditionally consumed for its health benefits since it has powerful antibiotic properties. Its final taste depends on the honey used. Although usually an alcoholic beverage, nowadays non-alcoholic versions are produced so that even children can enjoy its taste.