Heat 3 gallons of the water to a simmer. Add honey, stir until dissolved.
Add ginger, vanilla beans (scraping seeds into the mixture before adding the pods), peels, juice, rosemary, and spices. Bring mixture back up to a simmer and keep it there – just simmering, not boiling – for about 45 minutes.
Strain mixture into a sanitized bucket, removing herbs, spices, and fruit. Cover bucket with sanitized lid, allow to cool to room temperature.
Using a sanitized funnel, transfer cooled mixture to a sanitized 5 gallon carboy, topping up with remaining water until carboy is almost full. Swirl to combine.
Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading. It should be in around the 1.088 area. Keep track of the number!
Sprinkle yeast into carboy, cover with sanitized air lock. Let sit, undisturbed, overnight.
Within 24 hours, you should notice fermentation activity – bubbles in the airlock, carbonation and /or swirling in the wine must. This means you’re good to go! Put the carboy somewhere cool (not cold!), and leave it alone for a month.
Using sanitized equipment, rack the clarified wine off the sediment, into a clean, freshly sanitized 5 gallon carboy. Cap with sanitized airlock, leave it alone for another 2-3 months.
Repeat racking process. Leave wine alone for a month or two. By 6 months in, your mead should be very clear, and VERY tasty!
Using sanitized equipment, take a gravity reading, then rack the mead into clean, sanitized bottles. Cork. (We like to use these for corking our homemade wine. Easy to use – no special equipment needed! – easy to uncork, and – should you have any wine left in your bottle after serving (pfft!), the “cork” is easily replaced for temporary storage!)