diota: (v.) to drink (alcohol); to tipple

I do enjoy a drink. I love Wales too. So why not combine the two?

Iechyd Da!

Put simply, this is a blog about alcohol. Welsh alcohol.  There is a plethora of new, exciting producers across Wales, combining to create a sector that contributes c£361m to the economy and – of course – immeasurable value to those of us who enjoy a tipple or two.

So here is my attempt to capture this exciting, growing industry. A hynny yn ddwyieithog – and doing so bilingually, in fitting with the linguistic tradition and lived experience of y Cymry.

Dewch, mwynhewch, torrwch eich syched gyda fi ar draws Gymru.

If you’d like to point me in the direction of any favourites, let me know via diota.cymru@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Mis Mêl. A Honeymoon.

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[English below]

Fe ges gyfle prin yr wythnos hon i gyplysu dau ddiddordeb go wahanol; hanes ac alcohol.

Drwy gymorth rhai o lawysgrifau cynhara’r iaith Gymraeg, dyma ddarganfod hanes ddifyr hen ddiod sydd wedi atgyfodi fel alcohol go ffasiynol:

Medd.

Mae medd yn cael ei greu drwy eplesu mêl a dŵr, a dyma un o’r diodydd cynharaf y ceir cyfeiriadaeth atynt ym marddoniaeth Gymraeg.

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Clywir son am fedd yng ngwaith Aneirin a Thaliesin tua’r chweched ganrif, a hynny fel symbol o gynhaliaeth a seremoni’r llys yn y cyfnod cynnar (does fawr wedi newid, felly!).  Yng ngherdd arwrol, ‘Y Gododdin’, adroddir hanes dri chant o wŷr y Brythoniaid yn gwledda am flwyddyn ac yfed medd y brenin, a sawl yn ei weld fel tâl y rhyfelwyr; “Glasfedd eu hancwyn a gwenwyn fu…”

Mae medd hefyd yn ymddangos yng ngherdd epig yr Hen Saesneg, Beowulf, a hynny yn symbol o ddiota’r rhyfelwyr o Ddenmarc.

Ond nid tynged y ddiod hon yw’r llyfrau hanes yn unig. O na.

Y’ch chi erioed wedi meddwl o ble ddaw’r dywediad ‘mis mêl?’. Yn ôl mytholeg baganaidd, pe byddai pâr priod yn yfed medd bob dydd am fis wedi’r briodas, mi fyddai’n gwella’r posibilrwydd o genhedlu! A dyma darddiad y dywediad, ‘mis mêl’. ‘Sgwn i hefyd os mai medd yw gwraidd ein term fodern o ‘feddwi’? (Croeso i unrhyw arbenigwr gysylltu!)

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Ond tu hwnt i gaeau Catraeth, a sawl canrif yn ddiweddarach, mae medd yn fyw ac iach. Ar silffoedd sawl bar ‘cwl’ ein dinasoedd gwelir enghreifftiau o fedd, ac yn bennaf, medd o Gymru.

Rhaid cyfaddef mai blas newydd i mi oedd hwn. Rwy’n un sy’ fel arfer yn tueddu at ddiodydd sych neu chwerw ond cefais sioc ar yr ochr orau diolch i fedd Afon Mêl o ardal Cross Inn yng Ngheredigion.

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Cyfuniad ysgafn ond llawn blas. Nid yw’r mêl yn eich taro’n drwm a dwys ond, yn hytrach, yn gyfuniad hyfryd sy’n goron ar unrhyw swper. Efallai nad meddwi ar alwni o fedd fel milwyr y Brythoniaid fydde’r argymhelliad, ond mi fyddai glasied fach fel pwdin wedi swper neu ‘nightcap‘ ysgafn yn berffaith.

Mae’n aml yn cael ei ddefnyddio mewn coctels hefyd. Ond dwi’n amau mae stori am noson arall yw honno….

[Eng.] A Honeymoon.

My post this week has led me to an unlikely marriage of interests; history and alcohol.

With the guidance of the Welsh language’s earliest manuscripts, I delved into the fascinating history of an ancient drink which has resurrected as quite the fashionable tipple:

Mead.

Mead is created by fermenting honey and water, and is one of the earliest drinks to be referenced in poetry.

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Mead appears in early Welsh poetry dating from the sixth century. The works of Welsh bards Aneirin and Taliesin reference mead as a symbol of the subsistence of the court in the early period. In the heroic elegy, ‘Y Gododdin’, Aneirin depicts three hundred warriors feasting for a year and drinking the King’s mead, a payment for the loss of life that was to follow.

Mead also appears in the Old English epic, Beowulf, as the drink of choice for Danish warriors.

But the fate of Mead is no longer bound to the history books alone…

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Have you wondered about the origin of the saying, ‘a honeymoon’? According to pagan mythology, if newlyweds drank mead every day for a full lunar month, they would improve their fertility. This was, and still is, the honeymoon period.

But beyond the 6th century battlefields, the tipple lives on.  Mead, and in particular Welsh mead, takes pride of place on many a shelve in our city’s trendiest bars. I must admit, I was new to the flavour until very recently. I usually lean to the more bitter of alcoholic tastes, but this was a welcome surprise.

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Cardiganshire’s Afon Mêl  Mead was light yet full of flavour. There was a perfectly balanced hint of honey, without being overpowering – ideal as a dessert wine or a little nightcap. It’s also used as the foundation of many a tasty cocktail, but I fear that’s a story for another day…

Iechyd Da x

Gin in the rain.

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Happy August Bank Holiday. I’m wearing a scarf, jeans and the rain is pouring down outside.

Quite comfy really.

But if the weather has put a dampener on your plans of a sunny few days on the Welsh coastline, never fear. I have a suggestion…

(Trust me on this one.)

Wales’ Gower Peninsula was the first place in the UK to be designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has five Special Areas of Conservation, three National Nature Reserves, two Local Nature Reserves and many Sites of Special Scientific Interest. It’s stunning. And if, like me, nothing says escapism like a breezy walk along rich woodland or fresh saltwater marshes, then this is the place for you.

Not only pleasing on the eye, the Peninsula can also awaken our senses even when indoors. That’s right; the Gower’s herbs and botanicals provide the perfect ingredients for a unique blend of – yes you named it – GIN.

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To create the heady aroma, the wizards at the Gower Gin Company have worked wonders to blend eight botanicals including juniper, lemon, pink grapefruit, green fennel and bronze fennel to create GŴYR – Jin sych Llundain. If you like your Gin strong and fragrant then this is the one for you.

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Slice and squirt three or four small wedges of orange into your glass after pouring the gin, before adding your tonic and it’ll really bring out the zest of the grapefruit.

If you’re feeling particularly fancy, slice a small bit of orange peel to crown your creation. Or why not try pink grapefruit too? It is Summer after all.

The bottle is also incredibly pleasing on the eye and its use of embossed copper is a nod to Swansea’s famous copper industry of the 18th and 19th Centuries. Just lovely.

Mae’r brandio oll yn Gymraeg hefyd, sydd yn chwa o awyr iach. Ffordd delfrydol o chwaethus i chwifio’r faner ar ran cynnyrch o Gymru. Gwych. Dwi’n ffan mawr!

Now sit back, warm those cockles and pour a big glass of Gin.

(I enjoy mine in a goblet. Pam lai?)

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Iechyd Da x