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Cheers! A Viking drink in Mexican cocktail

The ingredients for the Blooming Paloma.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen preparing the Blooming Paloma.

Cheers! We've got a honey of a Michigan cocktail for you.

The website for Bløm Meadworks suggests, “…if the word ‘mead’ automatically conjures a drinking hall filled with Vikings for you, think of ours as its friendly, approachable descendants, without the pillage and plunder.”


But we’re taking the Vikings to Mexico.

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings visited the new Bløm Meadworks in Ann Arbor. It opened in May of this year. The company features a wide variety of session meads. Unlike typical meads which are basically a sweet wine made from honey, weighing in with a hefty alcohol level of around 14 percent, session meads are very dry with an alcohol level of between five and six percent. It’s more like a beer than a wine.

“I immediately thought these are going to mix great in a cocktail,” Coxen said, adding, “I’ve been playing around with them ever since.”

She settled on a riff of a traditional Mexican cocktail called the paloma. You might think of tequila and a margarita, but in Mexico, the locals drink paloma, a mix of grapefruit juice and tequila.

A particular Bløm Meadworks mead incorporates hops. It’s dry-hopped which means it’s not as bitter as an IPA (India Pale Ale), but it does have a lot of those hop aromatics. It matches up with fresh grapefruit juice very nicely.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
A reward for a drink well mixed!

Bløm Meadworks is owned by Lauren Bloom and Matt Richey. Richey is a brewer who found he was gluten intolerant, a disadvantage for a beer and ale brewer. But, making session mead avoids that problem.

“Their philosophy is to be ultra-local. So, they’re sourcing all of their honey from Michigan and that means their mead will change throughout the year as their honey changes,” Coxen said.

Some of their session meads use rhubarb from the Traverse City area. They’re also working with Ann Arbor Distillery to use some of its spent gin botanicals to use them in their meads.

We like to make cocktails with Michigan ingredients. The Bløm Meadworks dry-hopped mead is a great start, but Coxen added Cabresto tequila which has a strong Michigan connection through the Lopez family in southwest Detroit. (See the Cheers! profile of Cabresto here.)

The drink Coxen came up with is an easy drinking summer cocktail that you can mix right in the glass. Just make sure you stir it thoroughly to mix the agave nectar and large pinch of salt into the drink.

Blooming Paloma

2 oz tequila (Cabresto)

3 oz grapefruit juice

2 oz Bløm Meadworks Hopped Mead

1/2 oz lime juice

1/2 oz agave nectar

big pinch salt

Combine ingredients in a tall glass. Add ice to fill, and top off with additional mead as desired.

Update: the mead was mistakenly referred to as ale in one sentence. That has bee corrected.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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