Originally Posted by firstRWD
...Or should I just stick to a simple traditional recipe for my first batch and leave the extra flavoring stuff for later?
I regret not making a JAOM first, but do whatever your fancy dictates! This is a hobby and you aren't guaranteed one minute in the future to do less than what you want to do.
I think there is something to be said in emulating a well regarded simple recipe from a learning curve standpoint. If you elect to go with a JAOM you'll understand what bread yeast does, how the must goes from a murky opaque mess to crystal clear in about 60 days. You'll see the lees and if you elect to rack, understand what people mean when they say let it settle before you rack (and then, even when you bottle, you'll still possibly have some particulate stubbornly hanging out).
I'm hooked on mead for a lot of reasons but one thing it has taught me is patience. When I read about two week fermentations and then bottling a mead I laugh a little. That has been the furthest from my experience. Even using ec1118 the shortest time I've had a mead in a carboy is about 70 days (and even then I feel like I could have racked it one more time and let it bulk age a bit).
My eyes were really opened by a local mazer who gave me some older meads to try in 187ml bottles. There was actually DUST on some of these bottles (but maybe he just had a really dirty house).
But by all means, experiment. I've not used the same yeast or honey twice yet in over 16 gallons (a handful of 1 gallons, a five gallon first batch --ugh--and two 3 gallons -an apple pie cyser and my leap year bochet)