Mead Poached Pears

A lovely, light, late-winter/early-spring dessert, mulling spices and honey pear wonderfully with pairs. Err… something.

1 1/4 cups Mulled Over
1/2 cup sugar or local honey!
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Bosc pears, halved, seeds/cores scooped out
4 oz mascarpone
4 oz gorgonzola or bleu cheese
1/4 cup roasted unsalted pecans (optional)

Combine mead, sugar/honey, and cinnamon in a saucepan and boil 8-10 minutes or until slightly thick and syrupy. Reduce heat to low and place pears cut-side-down in the syrup. Cover and simmer about 25 minutes, turning the pears over half-way through. In the mean time, combine mascarpone and bleu cheese in a small bowl and mix well. When the pears are done, remove from the pan onto serving dishes and allow them to cool slightly. Top each half with a ball of cheese, and drizzle syrup over the top. If using pecans, toss them into remaining liquid and simmer a few more minutes until the liquid begins to stick to them.

Mead Slushies

Toby's Brew with frozen cherries

It’s been hot! In the search to stay cool, we’ve been blending mead with frozen fruit and ice. Our favorite pairings so far have been Mulled Over with blackberries and Toby’s Brew with cherries. Blackberries and cinnamon go surprisingly well together, and coffee lends a similar tannic feel to the cherries that you would get from chocolate. Pictured above is the latter. This is super easy to make and drink – all you need is a blender. Ice is optional – it helps to thicken the slushy, particularly if you want to use a larger amount of mead. This is also a great way to use up a bottle that’s been sitting around open for a bit too long and has begun to oxidize.

We use 2 cups frozen fruit, 1 cup mead, 1 cup ice. Adjust ratios as you see fit. Blend, drink, and find a friend with a pool.

Slow Cooked Butter Chicken with Mulled Over

As far as I’m aware, this dish is a heavily Americanized version of an Indian curry. While I usually prefer the authentic stuff, this is easy to make, and the slow cooker won’t make you break a sweat standing over the stove during these warmer months. The spices pair very nicely with the cinnamon and cloves in Mulled Over, which can be chilled to beat the heat of both the weather and the cayenne.

To make: put some chicken thighs (2 pounds-ish, trimmed if you  like) into slow cooker. Add a chopped onion, a can of tomato paste, 2 TBS yellow curry paste (you can use powder if you can’t find paste), 1 TBS garam masala, 4 TBS butter (or ghee), 6 minced cloves of garlic, cayenne to taste, and a handful of smashed whole cardamom pods. Put the last of these in a cheesecloth for easy removal after cooking, if you like. Top the whole thing with a can of coconut milk, cook 8 hrs on low, shred chicken, remove bones and cardamom pots. Serve with basmati rice (you can add turmeric to the rice to make it yellow – or saffron if you’re fancy).


Grilled Jerk Chicken with Toby’s Brew

It’s grilling season! And I’m having kittens over how easy it is to pair Toby’s Brew with grilled foods, which lend themselves well to spice rubs, marinades, and seasonings that pair excellently with coffee.

Grilled jerk chicken with Toby’s Brew

The chicken was marinated for a couple of hours in a blended slurry of olive oil, soy sauce, a small onion, 4 garlic cloves, 3 green onions, a seeded jalapeño, and jerk seasoning which includes cinnamon, nutmeg, thyme, allspice, salt and pepper. It is shown here with grilled plantains brushed with leftover marinade and broccoli slaw.

Gimme gimme chocolate!

Chocolate and coffee: match made in heaven! You can pair a coffee mead with almost any chocolate dessert for a treat. The only exception might be chocolate ice cream. I don’t think mead goes with ice cream at all, ever, but maybe that’s just me. I’d love to be proved wrong.

Chocolate pie with Toby's Brew
Chocolate pie with Toby’s Brew

You can use your favorite chocolate pie or tart recipe. This was sort of like a chocolate meringue pie except I exchanged the meringue for whipped cream. You can even add a dash of chili powder and cinnamon if you’re feeling adventurous!

Dry meads often pair like white wines, although the delicate nature of honey can make it a little tricky to get the right balance of flavors. Here we pair Thorny Side with a lightly seasoned dinner of fish and vegetables appropriate for the burgeoning spring.

You can use whatever white fish you like for this dish, and if you caught it yourself, all the better!

1 lb of tilapia fillets are marinated in the juice and zest of 1 lime, 1 TBS olive oil, about half a teaspoon of garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste. After marinating 1-24 hours, it is coated lightly in flour with a bit of salt and pepper mixed in, and fried over medium-high heat 3-4 minutes per side. Here they are served with peach chutney, but a squirt of lime juice would be just fine.

The vegetables are a simple medley of corn and asparagus – about a pound of each. Fresh corn is best, but if not in season, frozen is fine – cook via package directions, or steam fresh corn , sliced off the cob, 2 minutes. Asparagus is chopped into pieces and steamed 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness. They are tossed together with a simple dressing of olive oil (2 TBS), red wine vinegar (1 TBS), mustard (1 TBS),  salt and pepper.


Liquid Apple Pie


Mulled Over

It’s supposed to be spring, but as usual, our Vermont winter is still hanging around. Since night time is still chilly, and we are too cheap to turn up the heat in our house, we’ve been keeping warm with Mulled Over, heated up. Usually we just drink it by itself, but sometimes it’s nice to mix things up. Mulling spices go fabulously with apple – hence they are the same spices used in apple pie. So I made an adult beverage that is frankly more bourbon than apple or pie, but those flavors definitely come through! This is good hot or cold, by the way, just like pie. So drink it this summer too!

2 oz bourbon
1 oz Mulled Over
1 oz apple cider
1 drop orange bitters

Mix together, stick in microwave for 30 seconds, and garnish with a cinnamon stick or a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Mead: A Versatile Beverage

“What’s mead?”

“What kind of meat? You mean like sausages?”

These are the questions I usually hear after people ask me what I do, and I tell them I make mead. Once the concept of mead has been hashed thoroughly, usually I can see a lightbulb coming on in someone’s mind, and they clearly remember hearing of the stuff somewhere some time in some unknown context a long time ago. It follows, therefore, that the scope of how to drink mead is pretty limited. Honey is sweet. Lots of mead out there is sweet. What on earth can one do with it besides sip a small glass of it for dessert?


Flavors and levels of sweetness are highly variable in mead, and it turns out that different meads go superbly with different foods – and also cocktails! Just like the right cheese can bring out some previously unnoticed notes in a wine, a good food and mead pairing will be a wonderful culinary experience. So next time you want to open a bottle with dinner, make that a bottle of mead! I’ll be posting recipes with suggested pairings, as well as cocktail recipes, so check back often.