Last year in competition I had a mead that placed second. I was bested by a mead that was in part comprised of some form of Agave and very much tasted like Tequila. I am not a sore looser and got the opportunity at the competition after party to taste most of the meads in competition, it was outstanding and beat me hands down on creativity.
The same competitor also entered a Lime/Lemon/Citrus mead and took third with that, obviously a fairly accomplished mead maker. It was also a very good mead but to me it did not stand on its own as well. The real magic was blending his two meads together. The combination made as you might imagine a Margarita Mead and was simply amazing.
I would like to try to recreate something similar but the maker was not at the competition so I could not pick his brain for tips. Anyone have some recipes that would work for my goal? What type/form of Agave would you folks suggest? Anyone worked with Agave for mead and have tips?
I have made a margarita mead and it has placed in competition. While I like mine to be fairly sweet I will leave the balance to you. The 2 keys with me are:
1. Don't use too much Agave. I use 10% or less Agave of my sugar make up. 50% or more will make it "slimy."
2. I use bottled key lime juice. I usually add 25% to 50% of my juice in the primary and the rest after fermentation is complete. This keeps the yeast happy by not adding too much acid and allows for tweaking at the end with acid instead of having to back sweeten.
I do staggered nutrient additions and aerate constantly in the beginning.
For a 3 gallon batch I use:
2.5 gallon water
12 lbs honey
24 oz agave
16oz key lime juice (primary)
More key lime juice to taste after fermentation
What's really going to wet your noodle is when I tell you that you could even introduce a 3rd party and make a Prickly Pear Margarita Mead. You'll gain the addition of a vibrant magenta color as well as the unique prickly pear flavor (a sort of combo of watermelon, raspberry, and tomato).
See here for how I make the citrusy prickly pear juice base (stick with limes, no lemon):
Just don't use Mad Hava brand agave nectar. It has preservatives in it and will not ferment! Had to throw out a batch of Tequila APA because not only was it too sweet but it would not carbonate in the bottle after priming with the same agave nectar.