When going with a traditional holiday meal, such as a Yule ham, a traditional drink is fitting. Mead is a honey-based drink that pairs well with Yule ham, and the type of mead depends on how the ham is cooked. The flavors used in the ham are important to determine which type of mead pairs well. Much like wine pairing, mead should either compliment or contrast the flavors. Pork dishes go better with mead when is neither light nor dark; darker fruits and basic honey mead. Mead is thought to be the oldest alcoholic drink known to man and most likely was original drink with Yule ham.
This mead is made by fermenting fruit with the honey. For cured, smoked or game ham, try flavors like currant or elderberry mead. A traditional holiday ham in America is well-paired with autumn fruits like cranberry, pear and apple. Fig melomal works well with baked honey ham, and sweeter fruits pair well with pineapple ham. The fruit flavors either compliment or contrast the ham depending on how it is cooked.
Bochet mead is made with caramelized or burnt honey added to mead. This mead compliments honey-glazed ham, the flavor enhanced with caramelized honey on the ham. It is usually paired with desserts; however, the sweet ham pairs well with the bochet mead. It can also be used as glaze on the ham, or be a contrast to ham cooked with rich spices. This type of mead is heavy and sweet, so it is a matter of taste when pairing with ham.
This mead is made with spices; such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves or vanilla. A spicy metheglin contrasts the flavor in honey ham, and a sweeter one compliments it. If the ham is clover studded, the spicy flavor compliments it. A ginger-spiced metheglin goes well with ham that has a spicy rub on it. Some flavors used in metheglin are sweeter like cinnamon or herbs like lavender. Experiment with flavors to decide which pairs well with the way the ham is cooked.
More commonly known as cider, cyser is mead made from apples. It is paired well with savory ham as the natural fruitiness contrast the rich flavors. Cyser is often paired with pork; however, consider a slightly less dry cyser to offset the saltiness. This is a good choice because heavy, full-bodied mead can overtake the flavor of the ham. The flavor of apple greatly compliments both smoked and baked hams and their glazes.
Other meads to experiment with Yule ham pairings are basic meads made with only honey, water and yeast. Traditional mead is made without any chemicals. Quick meads are made in three days and are a light mead, while great mead is aged for several years. Sack is a stronger, sweeter mead made with more honey than other meads. No matter how the Yule ham is cooked, there's a mead for great pairing this holiday season.