Medieval Drinks

In the Medieval period people enjoyed drinking as much as we enjoy it today, and because they did not have water filters back then it was kind of necessary to drink a brewed beverage if you are poor. The poor people mostly drank ale, mead or cider and the rich people were able to drink as many different types of wine as they would like. Beer is not only one of the oldest fermenting beverages used by man, but it is also the one which was most in vogue in the Middle Ages. There were also other types of drinks but not that common.

Beer(Ale) and Cider

Under the Romans, people made real beer with barley; but in the later periods, all kinds of grain was used; and at the end of the sixteenth century the flower of hops to the oats was added. One of the most famous types of beer in the middle ages was “Godale”. The word originated from the two Germanic words “God” and “Ael” that can be translated as “good beer” and it was of stronger description than the normal beer. After the return of the Crusades, people started putting spice in their beverages and food. Some of the spices were, juniper, resin, apples, breadcrumbs, sage, lavender, gentian, cinnamon, laurel and much more. The main reason was variety and flavor. (Beer was mostly called “Ale” until the nineteenth century )
Cider and perry both come from a very ancient origin. Cider is a drink made of apples, mostly this was made by pouring water on the apples, and then steeping them to extract a sort of half sweet, half sour drink.


Wine was pretty common in the medieval period, especially for the people of higher status and ranks and it was widespread across Europe, maybe even wider. The English are known for experimenting with mixing resin with their wines to prevent them from turning sour, as the temperature in the Brittish Islands was not warm enough to ripen the grape. It was not very successful and most wines were imported from other regions. In 1372, a fleet of two hundred merchants came From London to Bordeaux for wine. In the thirteenth century, in the “Battle of Wines” we find those of Aquila, Spain, and above all, Those of Cyprus, to be spoken of in highest terms. Then a century later, Eustace Deschamps praised the Rhine wines, and those of Greece, Malmsey and Grenache. In an edict of Charles VI. Mention is also made of the muscatel, rosette, and the wine of Lieppe.  Malmsey wine was made with water, honey, clary juice, beer rounds, and brandy.

Many wines were made with mixings of wormwood, myrtle, hyssop, rosemary which were also mixed with sweetened wine and were flavored with honey. The most celebrated of these beverages bore the pretentious name of “nectar;” those composed of spices, Asiatic aromatics, and honey, were generally called “white wine”.