Homebrewer Simon Zhao started Rachelle The Rabbit Meadery (named after his daughter) in 2016 as he wanted to create a collection of meads for his daughter when she grows up. Inspired by the Chinese nu er hong wine, he decided to brew mead—an alcoholic drink made by fermenting honey and water, as he wanted to re-introduce old tradition with a modern twist. To create different notes in his home brews, he uses a variety of spices, such as nutmeg and cinnamon, and dried fruits.
How did you get started with brewing meads?
When I first started Rachelle The Rabbit Meadery, my plan was to create one label every year so that when my daughter gets married, she will get an entire collection of meads. Mead has been around for a long time, even before wine and beer existed, and I like that it is easy to store for a long time without any frills. My daughter is only three years old now and I figured that if I have to wait till she gets married to pass it to her, then I need to create something that is stable and easy to keep.
What makes your meads artisanal?
We do not make any compromises in our mead making process – from sourcing for the raw materials, to bottling and packaging. We treat every batch we create like a unique piece of art.
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Meads are still relatively unheard of in Singapore, how do you explain to people what it is?
To be honest meads are unheard of not only in Singapore but in many places around the world. We usually explain to people that mead is one of the oldest alcohol in the world and was drank by the Vikings. I like that we do a lot of roadshows as it gives us the opportunity to share the story of mead with people and allow them to have a taste of the beverage. This allows us to create a deepe understanding and awareness for our products.
What are your meads inspired by?
We are very much inspired by local flavours, our Uppercut mead is inspired by a local beverage Teh Halia (ginger tea), which we ferment with ginger and lemon, while our Double Kick mead features local herbs like cinnamon, clove and orange. We also have Bandung flavoured mead, which we ferment with dried rose buds.
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Can you share with us a little about the brewing process? What’s involved and what’s the most complex part about brewing your own meads?
Our brewing process is similar to making natural wines, and can be classified as minimum intervention style. We try as far as possible to present our mead in its most natural and organic form, with all the minerals, enzymes, vitamins and antioxidants in their original form.
Where are your meads available?
Our meads are currently available at bottle shops like the Straits Wine Company, Temple Cellars and Great Beer Experiment; as well as restaurant and bars like Curate, Native, Druggists and Mikkeller Bar.
Moving forward, we are looking at releasing our own spirits and cocktails and we will continue to experiment with new ideas to create more exciting mead flavours.
This article was first published in Wine & Dine March/April 2019: The Art of Craft issue.