It used to be that throwback drinking meant quaffing Prohibition-era cocktails and Hemingway sippers. But these days, we’re seeing an emphasis on even older traditions, and a resurgence of traditional techniques that have long fallen out of use. Mead, the fermented honey drink that was made as early as 7000 BC in China and was drunk in North Europe during the Bronze Age, is making a comeback that started in the homebrew community and grew outward. And in just a few short months, Williamsburg will be home to one of the largest mead brewing operations in the country.
Name an obscure, long-forgotten spirit, and you can bet your next round of shots on the certainty that somewhere in New York there’s a specialty bar that slings it. Mezcal? Yawn, that’s amateur stuff. AGWA? There’s a Korean joint that’s got it. Raki? Your friend who did a semester abroad brought you back a bottle from Istanbul in 2010. But what about mead? No, this isn’t some Game of Thrones theme bar slinging the honey brew in stone mugs. Instead, Bushwick-based Enlightenment Wines, which soft opened last month, aims to cultivate an appreciation for the oft-forgotten art of making the beverage, which has roots that reach as far back as 6500 BC. Enlightenment Wines and its accompanying bar and tasting room Honey’s specializes in both traditional meads and updated modern cocktails, all with a focus on local ingredients and production methods.