How to make gorse kick mead

Mead can be one of the most sumptuous drinks when brewed properly. Writer and artist Tiffany Francis shares her recipe for gorse kick mead.

Gorse flowers. Callum Redgrave-Close/Getty

This recipe was inspired by rambles across heather moors on hot days; gorse petals have a sweet, coconutty fragrance, but you do have to work a little harder to gather them as their thorns are a nightmare.

The shrub itself is a large, evergreen species and can flower throughout the year, blossoming most frequently in spring.

Gorse bushes and Belle Tout Lighthouse in East Sussex. © Tim Grist Photography/Getty
Gorse bushes and Belle Tout Lighthouse in East Sussex. © Tim Grist Photography/Getty

In Hampshire we have a local man who makes mead from his own honeybees and adds elderflower and hawthorn to create deep woodland flavours.

I highly recommend sourcing local honey for this recipe; not only does it nourish your local environment and community, but all jars of honey taste different and it’s wonderful to be able to capture the unique flavours of the landscape around you.

Combined with the flavour of honey and gorse, the chilli is not particularly fierce but it does leave a warming sensation after the last drop is guzzled. This recipe makes 5-6 bottles.

Hawthorn vinegar. © Tiffany Francis


  • Honey 1.2 kg, clear
  • Water 1.9 litres
  • Yeast 1 tsp, dried
  • Gorse petals 2 mugs, fresh
  • Chillies 8, dried or fresh


  • Step 1

    Take a sterilised demijohn and pour in the honey, water, yeast, gorse petals and chillies.

    Glass jar of honey. © Arto-canon/Getty
    Glass jar of honey. © Arto-canon/Getty
  • Step 2

    Stir thoroughly, either with a stick or by swirling the mixture around, and then seal the opening with an airlock.

    Leave at room temperature for 4-6 weeks, or until the water in the airlock stops bubbling.

  • Step 3

    If possible, transfer the mixture into bottles using a syphon, which means you can avoid the gorse petals and take out the clearest part of the liquid.

    If a syphon is not available, sieve the mixture slowly into bottles, taking care not to leave an air gap between the liquid and the bottle top.

  • Step 4

    The mead will be a little cloudy at first but over time any residue will settle at the bottle bottom. Store the bottles in a cool, dark place for a year before drinking.

    Gorse kick mead. © Tiffany Francis
    Gorse kick mead. © Tiffany Francis

This is a recipe from Food You Can Forage by Tiffany Francis, published Bloomsbury Wildlife.

Food You Can Forage

Main image: Gorse flowers. © Callum Redgrave-Close/Getty