A friend of a friend hooked me up with some beautiful local peaches that were extremely ripe. I thought a Dry Vanilla Peach mead would be fantastic.
I wasn’t quite ready to brew with them when I got the peaches a few weeks ago, so we chopped them up (just enough to get the pits out) and froze them.
I used my standard mead recipe, with a few modifications:
- I only used 3/4 gallon of honey (12 cups). This should result in the dryest mead I’ve yet made; I think the vanilla and peach flavors will offset the dryness nicely. At the very least, this will give me a new benchmark.
- My liquid base was a chaga decoction, as usual made with mountain spring water I gathered myself, and wild-harvested chaga. I also used a Sumac infusion but I only used 1 drupe, and I let it steep for only a few hours. I’ve tasted the first 2 batches of mead made with sumac and while they are excellent, the tannin flavor of the sumac might be a bit too strong, so I backed off a bit.
- I added 1 Tablespoon of ground raw, wildcrafted, vanilla beans. Obviously, vanilla is known in the west primarily for its flavor, but in addition to being one of the most exotic (and take for granted) flavors the world has known, “the mythology of the pre-Columbian Totonac tribe (who resided in what is now Mexico) refers to vanilla as an aphrodisiac.” This of course is right in line with what a good mead should be.
- I whizzed 2 quarts, maybe a little more, of fresh local peaches, skins and all, in the vitamix, and strained it into the must. In retrospect I’m not sure straining was necessary since there was very little matter left in my strainer at the end. Better safe than sorry.
- I heated the must a bit for the first time in a long time, mostly because the weather is cooling off quite a bit. I’m sure it never got anywhere near 90 degrees, but the honey did completely dissolve.
The result is a gorgeous, deep brown color:
UPDATE: When I racked this into 1-gallon jugs a week or two ago, I added whole vanilla beans to do an extraction of the vanilla essence. I’m anxious to see how well the tincturing works (ie, mead has less alcohol than 80 proof vodka for instance). Hopefully it will add a nice finish.
Here’s the label for this batch: