A new meadery in Bushwick brings honey wine out of the dark ages

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You can drink this mead on its own, or it makes an amazing cocktail base. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

You can drink this mead on its own, or it makes an amazing cocktail base. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

Just when you thought Bushwick had everything, a new meadery opens its doors. Now all the neighborhood needs is a blacksmith and good roast mutton joint.

Englightment Wines owners Raphel Lyon and Arley Marks teamed up to open Honey’s, a meadery, tasting room and event space dedicated to the ancient libation. Mead has traditionally been known as a sweet, even cloying honey wine, but Lyon has created a menu of bone-dry wines using raw honey, as well as locally-sourced black currants, cherries and maple. They’re delicious on their own and even better when used as a base for Marks’ cocktails.

Arley Marks and Raphael Lyon make mead and mead cocktails in Bushwick. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

Arley Marks and Raphael Lyon make mead and mead cocktails in Bushwick. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

Honey’s is located in an industrial area of Bushwick–not far from where the new Glasslands venue called Elsewhere will soon arrive. They have a license to serve drinks and to sell bottles of mead, designed by Lyon, with the help of friends, to the converted, which range from $25 to $30.

Try a few meads and cocktails made with it at Honey's before you buy a bottle. Photo: Enlightenment WInes

Try a few meads and cocktails made with it at Honey’s before you buy a bottle. Photo: Enlightenment Wines

St. Crimson Negroni
1 oz Greenhook Gin
3/4 oz Campari
1.5 oz Enlightenment Wines St. Crimson

Stir and serve in rocks glass over ice.
Garnish with fresh herbs (not a citrus peel like a traditional negroni).

“There’s no need for mead to be an esoteric beverage,” Lyon said. “It’s a popular drink and if made well I think it’s really great.” Lyon has been making mead since 200o, at his family’s farmstead in the Hudson Valley. He expanded to Brooklyn earlier this year. Now he makes his honey wine in a room that doubles as an event space, and Honey’s, located in the adjacent tasting room, feels much like any Brooklyn bar.

“We have approached it the way a natural winemaker would,” Lyon said. He incorporates local foraged ingredients and uses a mix of wild and cultivated yeast for fermentation. That process converts all of the sugar into alcohol, unlike the more traditional sweet meads you might envision a medieval knight, or maybe the Wife of Bath indulging in at a rough hewn tavern.

On Sundays, Honey’s offers free tastings, followed by donation-supported Sunday School classes with lessons in everything from herbalism to witchcraft. “We talk about all the stuff that circles around mead,” Lyon said. “Medicine, herbalism and magic are closely linked, so we wanted to bring those things back into the conversation.”

You can enjoy an evening at Honey’s without casting any spells, though. Sit back with a mead-based cocktail like The St. Crimson Negoni or the Floralia Gimlet, all priced at around $12. Then grab a bottle of mead and try it at home.

Honey’s
93 Scott Ave. at Randolph St.
Brooklyn, NY 11237
contact@enlightenmentwines.com
401-481-9205

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