This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
Honey is also a saccharine part of the carbonated and saccharine beverages, especially employed in preparing "mead," and it is therefore necessary for the carbonator to also get closely acquainted with this saccharine matter. We here repeat what the National Dispen-satory, in its clever treatise on this subject, explains in its valuable columns, and therefore reprint here its chapter on honey with due credit:
A saccharine liquid is secreted by the nectaries of flowers and collected by the working bees in their so-called honey bags, where it probably undergoes some changes before it is disgorged again in the hive. Evidently, the source from which it has been collected by the bees must exert considerable influence on its flavor, and it may even contain injurious principles when the flowers of poisonous plants have been frequented by the bees; to this cause at least have been referred cases of poisoning which occurred after partaking of honey. It has been stated that honey-bees introduced into Australia ceased to produce honey after the first year, probably because in that climate they could collect the necessary food during the entire year. Honey is largely produced in Europe and North America; much that is used in the United States is imported from the "West Indian Islands, and recently a well-flavored honey from California has been introduced in the Atlantic States.
The finest honey, called virgin honey, is obtained simply by draining the comb; when pressure or heat is used a darker-colored product is obtained. The yield of a hive is about fifteen to twenty pounds.
The object of clarification is to remove the wax and other impurities of honey, which rise to the surface when the honey is kept for a while in the condition of a thin fluid by exposing it to the heat of a water-bath. The British Pharmacopoeia directs it then to be strained through flannel previously moistened with water. The French Codex dissolves four parts of honey in one part of water, heats the mixture, removes the scum, clarifies with paper pulp, strains, and evaporates to the proper density; all preparations of honey are directed to be clarified merely by the use of paper pulp. The German Pharmacopoeia of 1872 ordered honey to be diluted with twice its weight of water heated to 100° 0. (212° F.) for one hour, filtered and evaporated. Various other methods have been suggested, among which may be mentioned the following: To dilute the honey with some water, add white of egg, heat gradually up to near boiling, strain and concentrate; or, to add to twenty-eight pounds of honey, diluted with water, a little (three drachms) gelatine, heat, and exactly precipitate the gelatine by one drachm of tannin; or to treat the diluted honey with prepared chalk, or with animal charcoal, or with aluminium hydrate, or with Irish moss; or to interrupt the boiling repeatedly for about a minute by the addition of sufficient cold water, and after filtration to concentrate to the proper consistence. The long-continued heat necessary for concentrating diluted honey impairs its aroma and imparts to it a darker color; the use of tannin is objectionable, since traces of it are likely to remain behind and render the honey unfit for use with salts of iron. In our experience the first two processes give quite satisfactory results, though the product is never absolutely transparent - a result aimed at by the other processes.