Imbolc—the Witches’ Sabbat where we huddle together in our cold, cramped apartments, relight our sacred fires, pray for the sun to come back soon and quietly acknowledge how glad we are that we’re not actually bound to the agricultural cycle anymore. (Except for those of who are actually suffering from food shortage, but that’s a post for a social justice blog.) Wait. What’s that you say? What the fuck? It was fifty-fucking-four degrees Fahrenheit outside today. How do you celebrate the desperate hope for the return of Spring when it feels like Beltaine outside?
Well, if you’re me, you duck off into the woods and celebrate like it is Beltaine. Because why not? Hooray, hooray! Who needs to wait for the First of May?
Monday, I bottled my Imbolc mead, made from Pasiphae’s beautiful home-grown blackberries. She gave me so many that, by the time I was done, I had somehow ended up with two gallons of mead. I kept one and left the other with Aradia. It turned out beautifully, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone at the local meat-up tomorrow.
Unfortunately, I can’t really share the recipe: it was too seat-of-my pants. With the fruit-to-honey ratio I ended up with, it might be more accurately described as “blackberry wine”. Also, I seem to have lost my notes. If I were going to do it over again, this is how I would do it:
4 lbs honey
1 gallon ziplock of blackberries (with another waiting in the freezer)
Lavlin 1118 Champaign yeast
Yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, &C.
Start by sanitizing the must using Campden tablets or the equivalent in your primary fermentation bucket, then add the yeast. Because of the fruit, you’ll want to let this one sit longer than usual.
When you’re ready to rack, break out the second bag of blackberries, let them thaw, and throw them into your secondary fermenter (if you’re lucky, that’s a 2-gallon carboy; if you’re me, that’s dividing them between two 1-gallon jugs), and rack the mead onto them. Again, leave them in there a little longer than usual. Repeat as many times as you have blackberries.
Bottle in time for the festivities.