I'd like to brew an orange blossom honey mead with lavender and vanilla. I am also considering adding some sweet orange peel to bring out the orange, but overall I am looking for both citrus and floral flavors, hopefully to be mellowed somewhat by the vanilla. I'd appreciate any help with the following questions (by the way, this will be my first mead):
1. Do these ingredients sound like they would go well together? They do to me, but I've never brewed anything with any of them.
2. Is the sweet orange peel too much/should I use bitter orange peel instead, or skip the orange peel altogether?
3. How to impart the vanilla? I'm thinking just drop some pods in the fermenter, but how many, and at what point in the cycle?
4. What about the lavender - how much to use, when to add it?
5. Could anyone come up with a recipe for this? Like I said, I've never done a mead, and I really want it to come out balanced, and with each element contributing something noticeable. I'd like to do a five gallon batch, and I guess I'd like it around 12-14%, and I want it one the sweeter rather than drier side.