Upon reviewing the recipe, I made the following notes: • Boil the water. Probably not necessary with a clean water source. • Add enough honey to bear an egg. See comments below. • Boil it till the scum rises very well. I chose about 20 minutes boiling. (For those of a more modern bent who do not wish to boil honey, the honey can be added later, in the cooling stage). • Base recipe volume not stated to scale addition of lemons and rosemary. Typical recipes from this period often make 3-5 gallons, so I chose 2 lemons and a sprig of Rosemary for a 1 gallon batch (thinking 3 sprigs would fit nicely into a small handful and I’m making 1/3 of a 3 gallon batch). This is purposefully intended to make a more intensely flavored mead. • Pour boiling must over lemons and rosemary, let cool, add yeast when cool. • Rack after 2 weeks. Drink after 1 month.
The big question here is proportions. Enough honey to bear an egg. My research indicates an average egg is neutrally buoyant at about 1.065-1.07 SG but can easily range from 1.055 to 1.085. My 20 minutes boiling (followed by evaporation during the cooling off period) reduces the total volume by 10-15%. The end SG of the finished must is probably most likely in the range of 1.075-1.12 but the range may be functionally even higher. This provides a broad range for the modern mead maker to choose from.
Note we have three pieces in this recipe where your interpretation is likely to fulfill your own expectations.
FIRST, choice of a target OG. I believe the likely range is about 1.07 to 1.12. Note: the first time I made this it had an OG of 1.11 and ended at 1.032, it had a nice body and the sweetness brought out the flavors. The second trial I went for a lower OG of 1.088, and it fermented less well, but also had a more watery mouth feel and less intense flavors.
SECOND, 6 lemons and a half handful of rosemary-big or small lemons, rosemary sprigs or leaves separately, big hands?, to how much must ???? My choices reflect my liking of stronger flavors – you could easily argue for less or much less lemon/rosemary (but probably not for much more)
THIRD, yeast choice. A very complex topic, where information is rapidly evolving. I chose to use a pure strain yeast, in this case an English ale yeast, as representative of a readily available yeast to add in 17th century England, you can argue other choices. In all, there is currently no reason to believe that any particular modern yeast, after hundreds of years of evolution is any more ‘authentic’ in operation to 17th century yeasts than any other yeast.