One of my favorite rituals every morning before heading to work is doing The New York Times mini crossword puzzle, which always puts my brain in the right place. One recent clue read: Ancient alcoholic beverage enjoying a 21st-century resurgence. The answer came to me quickly: “mead” – probably because I drive by a meadery every day on Highway 82 in Sonoita. Traditionally made from honey, water and yeast, mead is considered the oldest beverage in the world, originating 5,000 years ago in the Henan province of China. Like wine, it can be sweet or dry, still or sparkling.
Despite this rich history, I’d had only a few mead encounters in the past, and was not gustatorily impressed. That changed when I had the opportunity to taste the offerings at The Meading Room, the place I drove by every day. The brainchild of Sonoita native Kylie Daniels and head mead-maker Michael Fry, TMR is making some interesting stuff. I instantly fell in love with Ziggy’s Moscow Mule ($18). In mead speak, this one is a “melomel” since fruit is added (lime and ginger). The carbonation made the flavors pop. I also liked Lavender and Pear ($18) with subtle aromatics and fruity nuances. One of about 600 meaderies in the U.S., The Meading Room makes over a dozen different meads in addition to seasonal offerings.
The tasting room sits on a hill overlooking Sonoita’s Mustang Mountains, which makes for a great view to cogitate over life’s vicissitudes and a welcome reprieve from wine tasting in the area.
The Meading Room
3470 Hwy. 82, Sonoita