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from Central Texas"
Like any number of Stillhouse
Hollows, Moonshine Creeks and Whiskey Rivers, it takes its name from
a homemade liquor. Metheglin is made by boiling a mixture of honey
and water and letting it ferment then adding spice to taste.
place names are easy to discern. You don't have to know that Stillhouse
Hollow was once a favored site for moonshine stills to make an educated
guess that the name has something to do with the brewing of illegal
Metheglin Creek rises in eastern Coryell
County and runs about eight miles into Lake
Like any number of Stillhouse Hollows, Moonshine Creeks and Whiskey
Rivers, it takes its name from a homemade liquor. Metheglin is made
by boiling a mixture of honey and water and letting it ferment then
adding spice to taste.
Metheglin was a favored drink of intemperate pioneers, partly because
it was easy to make and packed quite a wallop, or so it is said.
Alexander Dienst, writing in Legends of Texas, tells of an early pioneer
in northwest Bell County
named Morrison who built his home close to a then-unnamed creek. Morrison's
first name was Horatio but his wife never called him anything except
Horatio 'Honey' Morrison believed temperance, as a virtue, was way
overrated. He made and sold metheglin, but preferred the manufacture
and consumption of moonshine whiskey.
One day his wife asked 'Honey' to fetch a pail of water. Like Jack
of Jack and Jill fame, Honey fell down while fetching said pail of
water. This created the mixture of "honey" and water used to make
metheglin, or mead as it is sometimes called. In just such a manner,
the creek was named Metheglin Creek. As far as anybody can tell, it
is the only Metheglin Creek in the country.
Metheglin Creek remains scenic and historic. It slows to a trickle
in dry times, but after a good rain runs near The
Grove, Owl Creek and Moffat
on its way to Lake
It's a pretty place most of the year, says Louis Flores, who recently
bought property on the creek. He says the little creek takes people
by surprise when they first see it running high and mighty. "There's
places on the creek where you wouldn't think you're in Bell
County at all," he says. "It's just a pretty little creek."
the brew, has fared well in the intervening years. From being the
drink-of-choice for intemperate settlers, it's now bottled and rhapsodized
over like fine wine. Spicing appears to be the key to quality metheglin.
Popular varieties include metheglin spiced with ginger and lemongrass.
Plain vanilla, lavender, lemon and ginger mint metheglin and clove
and cinnamon metheglin are some of the more common concoctions. A
bottle of metheglin can be pricey as well as spicy. Reviews can be
as pretentious and pedantic as any wine review, with lines like "its
bold taste is elegant, yet delightfully understated, with vague suggestions
of chocolate and an invigorating whiff of mint."
the story of Morrison and his tumble into the creek is the most popular
and widely accepted story about how the creek got its name, it's not
the only one.
Another story, this one passed on some time ago by judge James Kuyendall
Evetts, has the creek named for a man and his 'honey' riding double
on a horse across the creek. The woman fell off the horse and into
the creek - another intertwining of honey and water to create Metheglin
Creek. The young man might have tried to console her by saying, 'Oh,
honey, I'm sorry you're such a clumsy oaf.'
Or words to that effect.
Whatever was said, the dunking doused whatever passion the young woman
might have had for the man prior to the ill-fated ride.
If there is a moral to the story, it is that the course of true love,
like the course of creek in a land of unpredictable rainfall, does
not always run smoothly.
© Clay Coppedge
"Letters from Central Texas"
February 22, 2005 column
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