Hubby found me a book called Irish Traditional Cooking, which has been a wealth of information for much of my recent cooking. I thought I'd share with you the recipe it gives for making mead, though I don't recommend the bottling procedure!
" Boil eight quarts of water in a preserving pan and dissolve in it two pounds of honey. Add thin slices of lemon with skin, pith and pips removed. Remove pan from cooker and when the mixture is nearly cold, add one pint of pale aleand a quarter teaspoon of yeast dissolved in a little tepid water. Leave overnight. Strain into bottles, putting two washed raisins and a teaspoon of sugar in each bottle. Seal bottles and leave in a warm room for four or five hours. Store in a cool, dark place. The mead is ready for drinking within a week."
That sounds like a weak strength mead, with potential bottle bomb potential (hey, maybe that's where the IRA got the petrol bomb idea from - drink the booze and replace with petrol, who can really tell the difference?! ) and it surely couldn't have tasted very good at a week old!
The book acknowledges that the Irish were actually not the best alcohol makers, sanitation was an issue most of the time, so brews often tasted bad. Not that the Irish cared really, apparently it didn't matter how bad it tasted and we got pissed on it anyway