The Spillover’s guide to drinking like a Viking

It’s hard to get a nice, cold glass of mead in these parts.

(Don’t know what mead is? We won’t judge. I didn’t either.)

giphy (37)It’s pretty much the OG alcoholic beverage — dated way back to 3,000 B.C.E. It’s wine, but instead of grapes, it’s made out of honey. The drink has been around for centuries and consumed all over the world, from early South Africa to ancient Greece. It’s known as the drink of the Vikings and often shows up in Norse mythology. (GOT fans: you’ve probably seen Tyrion Lannister imbing on a glass or two.)

So when Matt Kuscher, the mastermind behind Grove favorite LoKal and Wynwood’s Kush, set his eyes on his next restaurant, The Spillover in Coconut Grove, he saw a huge opportunity — to be the first mead and cider bar in the Magic City. Editor’s note: This paragraph has been edited to reflect the right location. 

Mead is simple. It’s made with three ingredients: honey, water, and yeast, according to Colin Speer, the general manager at The Spillover.

The fermentation process is similar to the one for cider or beer.

“Mead isn’t the most approachable beverage, and some meads are traditionally very sweet, very rich, very full-bodied, and very high in alcohol,” Speer said. “Most meads are somewhere between 12 and 20 percent in alcohol.”

There are two different categories of mead — hydromels and melomels. Hydromels are made with a little more water than a typical mead, have less alcohol, and a milder flavor. Melomels are made from infusing fruit into the mead, and they’re usually more alcoholic and strongly flavored.

You’re probably more likely to drink a hydromel with a meal, and save a melomel for a post-meal drink.

“I don’t like to drink [strong] meads in the middle of the meal because the flavors are so strong and they might mess up your pallet for the food,” Speer said. “I’ll usually pass on the dessert and have mead instead.”

Speer gave us a taste test of a few of his favorite meads at The Spillover and some tips on how to have them.

Crafted, Pollen Nation

Alcoholic content: 6 percent
Drink it if you want to: Get a little loose
When to drink it: With your meal
This is a sparkling mead, infused with hops and blackberries. It’s low in alcohol and potency and you can probably sip it alongside your meal.

Makana Meadery, African Gold Coffee

Alcoholic content: 12 percent
Drink it if you want to: Get a nice buzz going
When to drink it: After your meal
This is made at a South African brewery. It’s infused with Transkei Gold coffee beans and has a very potent taste.

Dansk Mjod, A/S Vikings Blod

Alcoholic content: 19 percent
Drink it if you want to: Get litty
When to drink it: You’re tryna party
This is a Nordic honey wine, infused with hibiscus and hops. “The first time I drank, I took one sip and put it it back in the refrigerator, but now I love it. The flavor profile isn’t approachable the first time,” Speer said.

  • Tampa’s Ybor City has a craft mead brewery called Cigar City Cider & Mead http://www.cigarcitycider.com/ You can order samples brought to your table on a board just like in a craft brewery. It was fun but after trying the stuff, you can see why spirits evolved to something stronger and tastier.