With Zydeco Meadery, Eric Depradine produces drinks that pay homage to beloved places – including the Ozarks | Kansas City
Zydeco Meadery’s handcrafted meads in Wamego, Kansas stem from a long family tradition started by owner Eric Depradine’s grandmother, who taught him how to make a non-alcoholic hibiscus drink (also known as Sorrel, Bissap, Agua de Jamaica, and Zobo, among other names) found in the Caribbean, the Gulf Coast of Mexico, northern South America, and West Africa. Depradine and his wife, DeAundra, decided to try their hand at recreating the drink with an alcoholic twist, and their hibiscus mead was born. Today, Zydeco meads contain honey, fruits, and other ingredients sourced from places in the United States that have special meaning for the family. Mass Memories, for example, is a tribute to the home state of Depradine, Massachusetts. Made with cranberry blossom honey from Nantucket and dark amber maple syrup from the Berkshires, it must be enjoyed chilly as the breeze on the shores of Cape Cod. Creole Queen, one of Zydeco’s most popular meads, has only honey, which comes from the prairies of Louisiana where the Depradines met and fermented their first bottle of mead in 2011.
How has your heritage influenced your recipes? My grandmother is from Trinidad and she learned how to make a hibiscus, sorrel drink from her great-grandparents. Sorrel is a common drink in the Caribbean that’s associated with vacations, but it transcends ethnicity. Everyone loves it because it’s sweet, with a cranberry flavor. Zydeco’s hibiscus mead, made with calyces of hibiscus, ginger, spices and Kansas wildflower honey, has a flavor profile similar to sorrel, but it undergoes a process. fermentation. Zydeco specializes in dry meads, but hibiscus mead based on my grandmother’s sorrel recipe is sweet.