Wild Blossom Meadery's mead

As one of the world's first alcoholic beverages, mead is old-school. But Wild Blossom Meadery's Greg Fischer produces a particularly urban honey wine, using honey he harvests himself from four clusters of hives he keeps around the city. His raspberry-peach mead is just hitting shelves (find it at West Lakeview Liquors and Whole Foods). Here's how it's made.

  • Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki


 

 

1 Bees collect nectar from flowers, then return to the hives Fischer maintains atop the roof of the Marriott Magnificent Mile, in the Ogden Dunes, in the Kankakee dunes and on a stretch of Park District land formerly home to a steel mill. At the hives, the bees regurgitate the nectar, and worker bees take over, turning the nectar into honey by evaporating most of the water.

 

1 Bees collect nectar from flowers, then return to the hives Fischer maintains atop the roof of the Marriott Magnificent Mile, in the Ogden Dunes, in the Kankakee dunes and on a stretch of Park District land formerly home to a steel mill. At the hives, the bees regurgitate the nectar, and worker bees take over, turning the nectar into honey by evaporating most of the water.

2 Fischer collects the honey from the hives in the form of honeycomb, being careful to leave an adequate supply for the bees to survive on while also avoiding the bottom two layers of the hive where the queen bee lays her eggs.

3 The honeycomb is spun in a centrifuge to extract the honey from the comb.

4 The raw honey is thinned with water until it’s the consistency of grape juice and 24 percent sugar content.

5 Yeast is added to the honey to start the fermentation process that converts the sugars into alcohol.

6 After about four weeks, the mead is transferred to a secondary fermentation tank where frozen peaches and raspberries are added. (Freezing the fruit is a winemaking trick that breaks down the fruit’s cell walls, making juice extraction easier.)

7 After another four weeks, the mead is passed through a wine press to strain the fruit. It then sits in a settling tank to get rid of yeast deposits. While in the settling tank, the sweetness is adjusted by tweaking with either more dry mead yeast (if it’s too sweet) or more honey (if it’s not sweet enough).

8 After being filtered a final time and bottled, the mead is ready to drink.

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