Fermentation is at the heart of the craft beverage industry. The metabolic process transforms grapes into wine, apples into hard cider and sugary worts into brews. There is yet another lesser-known transformation of honey, yeast and water that is making its rise in the wine industry, and Dugspur’s Blacksnake Meadery is at the forefront.
Blacksnake Meadery is Carroll County’s first ever winery and Southwest Virginia’s only meadery. The family-owned and -operated facility prides itself for its authentic bee to bottle philosophy. Owners Steve and Joanne Villers source most of their honey from onsite hives and ferment the saccharine nectar into a delicious honeyed wine known as mead.
Like wine, there are several categories or styles of mead that range from dry traditional meads and fruity melomels to sherry-like sack meads and braggots, a unique hybrid of beer and mead. To get a better taste of these honeyed drinks, Blacksnake shared with us their most popular bottles and homemade cocktail recipes.
This sweet mead is highly decorated. It took home a gold medal and Best Mead title from the State Fair of Virginia in 2016 and has been recognized in both national and international mead competitions.
Meloluna tastes and breathes saccharine notes of honey paired with a touch of caramel. The mead makes for an exceptional digestif or a boozy complement to eggnog and nutmeg for a cozy holiday cocktail. Other great mixers include Jack Daniels, Cirrus Vodka and limoncello.
All of the honey fermented to craft this dry mead is sourced directly from Blacksnake’s hives. As the seasons change, so do the flavors and aromas of each bottle of Wildflower.
Wildflower pairs wonderfully with pineapple juice or créme de cassi, as well as in Blacksnake’s signature Basil Bee cocktail which combines 1 muddled basil leaf, 2 ounces of Wildflower and 1 ounce of gin served over ice.
Sweet Virginia is a traditional mead crafted with three simple ingredients—water, honey and yeast. The mead is described as semi-sweet with prominent Virginia honey character complemented by herbal savors.
Sweet Virginia can be used to put a mead spin on classic cocktails like a margarita or Manhattan. For Blacksnake’s Elder Meadarita, combine juice from half a lime, 2 ounces of Sweet Virginia, 1 ounce of Five Mile Mountain Elderberry Moonshine, then shake and serve in a salt-rimmed glass.
For the Meadhattan, combine one part Sweet Virginia with one part Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey and garnish with brandied cherries and a twist of orange.
Blacksnake’s Dugspur Sippin’ Porch is closed for the season, but tasting is available year-round at The Hive, Blacksnake’s satellite meadery in Roanoke. Orders may also be placed directly through Blacksnake or online via VinoShipper.