Hippocras refers to a beverage made with wine, honey, and spices. The word has recently developed a new meaning among mead makers, who sometimes use it to refer to a spiced pyment; that is, a mead fermented with grapes and spices.
Historically, hippocras referred to wine, usually dry white wine, which was sweetened and spiced. Sometimes the wine was mulled with the spices, but appears to have been cooled before drinking. Honey was used for its
"Hippocras" in Meadmaking
The confusion over hippocras in mead making appears to stem from the book Wassail! In Mazers of Mead by Robert Gayre, published in 1948 and later reprinted by Charlie Papazian. In this book, Gayre stated that hippocras was a type of pyment, where the honey was fermented together with the grapes and spices.
While there is no historical support for this position, the term has stuck among mead makers to describe this moderately popular style of mead, and many competitions and mead references still use it today.