For centuries, dandelions have been prized for their medicinal qualities, often consumed in the form of dandelion wine or tea to aid in digestion. In New England, there’s a long tradition of drinking dandelion wine as an early-spring medicinal tonic. But until recently, any beverages made with dandelions weren’t all that enjoyable to drink.
Every year during the flower’s peak bloom, usually in April or May, Raphael Lyon of Enlightenment Wines Meadery assembles a team that travels from the Brooklyn meadery to a farm in the Hudson Valley, where they pluck fresh dandelions from the ground. Since 2009, he’s made Memento Mori, a dandelion mead that combines wildflower honey, orange peel and fresh dandelion flowers, which bring dry, bitter notes to the beverage.