I'm still learning about brewing, and it's the most fun I've ever had experimenting. Unlike cooking and baking, where a ruined experiment may be burnt beyond recognition or too salty to eat; The worst thing that has come of a bad mead had been that it was too weak. Oh no, I guess I'll have to drink it all to get rid of it ...
I started a Rhodomel last week. That's rose petals in mead. Roses and honey, awesome!
I started with gathering rose petals and drying them for about a week. Then I gathered a bunch of fresh ones as well.
I filled up the secondary fermentation jar with dried and fresh petals all the way to the top. I even had a few petals left over, my mother has a very large summer rose I was gathering from. The recipe suggested 12 cups (which is about how much water was used in the first fermentation) but it's hard to judge volume with a fluffy item. How packed are we talking?
After sitting overnight, the mead had turned a nice reddish color. Unfortunately the bubbles tend to lift the petals and force an overflow. It took several days in the sink to get things under control. It's now slowed down and maturing slowly. The balloon on top is my "air lock", it captures gas and can be vented while not allowing bacteria in the air to enter the drink.
As for the rest of the petals? An herbal syrup of course! You can make a syrup of just about anything, on this day it was roses and elderberries. With a light fluffy plant fill the jar, with a dense plant just a few tablespoons on the bottom. You can use any culinary or medicinal plant for syrups.
Add sugar to fill the jar 1/4 -1/3 full. You can use honey with strong flavored herbs like mint or sage, but sugar is better for delicate flavors. Boil water and place the jars on a towel or mat (expanding and contracting glass can crack when dragging across a counter top.) Fill with water and cap.
Let the herbs infuse overnight. Afterwards you can keep them sealed in the fridge for months, heck even opened they will keep for weeks. You can use these to flavor teas and drinks. I like to mix one part syrup, one part good local vodka, one part sparkling water and a squeeze of lime. This is surprisingly good with savory herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage!
I made the rose syrup into pink lemonade. Lemon juice, syrup, water and ice. A perfect relaxation elixir for a hot summer's day. Bring on the sun, I've got a shady porch and a lounge chair!