Oldest alcoholic drink returning to India in December

VILNIUS (LITHUANIA): The world’s oldest alcoholic drink, the recipe for which finds a mention in the Rig Veda, is making its way back to the country of its birth.

The Lithuanian company that holds the patent for Madhu Madya (honey alcohol), the world-famous mead made with ayurvedic traditions, has now decided to make the drink

English: Historical Lithuanian borders Deutsch...

English: Historical Lithuanian borders Deutsch: Historische Grenzen Litauens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

available in India.

The Indian Baltic Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) will launch the mead – the oldest fermented drink in the world, it is made from honey, water, yeast, herbs and vegetable seasoning – at the Fine Food Exhibition at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on December 10. The IBCC hopes to rope in distributors for the drink to make an official entry into the Indian market in early 2014.

“A Lithuanian company holds the patent for this unique drink whose roots can be traced back to India,” IBCC president Gediminas Citukas told TOI. “They produce 200,000 litres of it annually and require 100 tonnes of honey for its production. The drink’s low alcoholic content and unique sweet taste is bound to be a hit with Indians.”

Historical records show on September 30, 1969, Queen Elizabeth II granted the Stakliskes factory of Lietuviskas Midus with the patent number 1280830, making it the sole producer of this drink. (Stakliskes is a village in Kaunas county, Lithuania.)

No formulations have survived of the old Lithuanian mead, produced several hundred years ago, but it is believed that in those times water and a honey solution were heated with spices before the solution was filtered and fermented using beer or wine yeast. The base for the production of this drink is natural bee honey.

At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, mead was almost no longer produced because beekeeping had suffered a serious crisis. In the 20th century, interest in Lithuanian mead production saw a sudden revival. This drink with added vitamins is now made from honey, hops, lime flowers, juniper berries and other vitamin C-containing additives, aged for at least 18 months.

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