[top]Alcohol - the Cerilian drink of choice

Except in areas where tea or coffee are consumed widely, alcohol is ubiquitous in Cerilia. Even in the Khinasi lands where one finds coffee and tea alcohol is far from unknown - although its negative properties are more strongly frowned upon along the Sun Coast than elsewhere.
Alcohol is common not because of its intoxicating properties or taste (though these should not be discounted) but simply because drinking water tends to be unsafe away from the purest mountain streams. Since brewing tends to involved at least some boiling, use of yeast which crowds out other fungal agents, and of course relatively careful filtering of the water in the first place and later sealing to prevent contaminants, only coffee or tea is as safe to drink as alcohol. (Coffee and tea are of course also boiled drinks, in the case of tea with the added bonus of being strongly anti-septic).


Most beer is fairly weak to ensure it can be drunk continually by the peasantry without impeding work, however stronger alcohol can be used to keep the peasantry soporific and complacent. Some beers are fortified with grains and the like to replace bread as a staple of the diet. Some Anuirean monks who abstain from food for long periods of 'fasting' make beers so fortified with grains, nuts, and so on that you could stand a spoon in them.
Beer comes mainly in the form of ale or lager and is made mainly from malted barley. Beer may also be made from, or include maize/corn, oats, rye, rice, corn, or sugarbeet. In Aduria beers are sometimes made of corn, millet and potato.
Beers are almost always flavored with hops, but may also be flavored with fruit, honey, spices and sometimes narcotic herbs.

[top]Types of beer

  • Ale is made in warmer areas and has a fuller, fruitier flavor than lager and also tends to be sweeter. Most ale has a cloudy dark appearance.

  • Clear beers (higher quality beers than the usual homebrew) use a clarifying agent such as isinglass (a fish extract), Irish moss (seaweed) or gelatin. These cause various sediments and impurities to settle leaving a transparent clear drink favored by the middle and upper classes.

  • Lager tends to be produced in cooler areas and is a light clean tasting beer.

  • Ice beer is made in northern areas using ice-distillation to split out a bulk weakly alcoholic drink for bulk consumption and a small quantity of strongly alcoholic beer for recreational use.

  • Stout is a kind of ale made of roasted malt or barley, these beers are darker and are preferred in areas where the water has a high mineral content.

Beer can be made from stale bread instead of grain resulting in a cloudy, only weakly alcoholic drink.
  • Kvass is made from fermented stale dark, sourdough rye bread - often flavored with herbs, strawberries, raisins, currants, lemons, cherries, apples or mint.

  • Sahti - bread of mixed barley, rye, wheat and oats is fermented and flavored with juniper instead of hops. Sahti has a distinctive banana taste.

Beer is generally seen as a basic foodstuff akin to bread, with stronger beers seen as a social lubricant. For one person to refuse to share a drink with another is an insult in most parts of Cerilia as it implies that the first person doesn't feel safe in the other persons presence or doesn't trust them with any secrets that might be revealed by a loosened tongue. The Khinasi consider beer fit for lower castes only - the Lady of Reason smiles not upon the drunkard who spurns her gifts.


In vino veritas - in wine one finds truth...

Far stronger (generally) than beer, but weaker than spirits, wines are generally considered far more refined than other drinks (aside from mead) and accordingly granted more favor by the nobility, particularly in Khinasi lands where wine is drunk almost exclusively (if rarely to public excess) by the wealthier citizens who disdain beer.

[top]Common wines:

  • Red wine - made from red grapes, favored by the Khinasi

  • White wine - made from white grapes, favored by the Brecht.

To the connoisseur, only wines made from grapes are considered wine, everything else is simply inferior. Wines vary in strength and are often used in priestly rituals, they are also a favorite vessel for poison in Khinasi lands.

[top]Other wines:

  • Barley wine - similar to beer but considered more refined, this drink is made and drunk in quantity only in Elinie.

  • Cider - nobles may drink grape wine, but everyone else drinks cider, cider is made from fermented apples (occasionally fermented pears) and is a dark cloudy drink, flavorings can include cranberry, grape cherry or raspberry. Cider needs to ferment for 3 months, and is matured for two or three years (or often drunk raw). Cider is common in the Rjurik Highlands, Brechtur and Anuire. Mulled cider with added cinnamon, cloves and lemon is a common folk remedy for chills and other winter ills.

  • Fortified wines - these wines have spirits added to provide extra kick. These include ginger wine, port and sherry.

  • Fruit wines are made from fruits other than grapes (apples, pears, plums, elderberries, barely, rice, etc) these are typical peasant fare and considered beneath the nobility.

  • Ice wine - in northern Brechtur, grapes that freeze on the vine are collected to make Eiswein. The frozen grapes are pressed while frozen and strained to separate the frozen ice and the fluid which contains more alcohol than is the norm. Ice wine grapes must be very pure, and the wine-making process is expensive as the grapes must be left to hang for months after they ripen meaning many are eaten by birds or rot on the vine, the wine also has a long fermenting process, and relatively low yield with the result that these wines are expensive and made only rarely outside Danigau, barring freak weather conditions in more southern lands. Ice wine is very sweet, with an extremely refreshing taste. Ice wine is rarely aged, although it stores reasonably well.

  • Rice wine (sake) - is made in the eastern Khinasi lands, sometimes mixed with grape wine.

  • Sparkling wine - generally made accidentally when wine is shipped from the warm lands of the south to the north where sugar is sometimes added to make the young wine more palatable. When summer comes, the wine starts to ferment again, often causing the bottles or barrels to explode through built up gas but otherwise resulting in effervescence when poured. Sparkling wines are generally considered cursed by Azrai in most of Cerilia for their explosive properties, although the people of Merasaf used to deliberately make champagne for its bubbly property. These wines generally have heavy sediments and do not store well, but are prized by those familiar with them.

Wine can be stored for a long time, and several Anuirean monasteries keep large underground stores where wine can mature. Some noted wine producers make vintage wines that take advantage of shifting weather conditions to identify extraordinarily good wine making years and ensure such prized wines are not mixed with lesser years.


The aqua vitae, or water of life.

Strong alcohols are almost always distilled, and drunk from very small cups. These drinks are frequently ceremonial, or have mystical properties ascribed to them due to their potency. Spirits are generally drunk as evening drinks or at celebrations and not used as thirst-quenchers.

  • Absinthe - this infamous concoction of the goblins is (entirely incorrectly) called elven wine and Erik's kiss. It is a herbal liquor flavored with anise and fennel containing wormwood often diluted with water and honey when drunk. Absinthe is popular amongst mystics for its psychoactive properties, it is primarily made for export by the Chimaeron, Thurazor and Kal Kalathor. This does little to dispel the myths surrounding the drink, which was banned in the Anuirean Empire by the Imperial Temple of Haelyn centuries ago. It remains illegal in Khinasi lands although it is made on the Isle of the Serpent.

  • Arak - A grape wine flavored with aniseed (and sometimes cloves, coriander, cinnamon, and star anise) and distilled. Called Arak (Khinasi) or Ouzo (Vos) the liquor is a clear, colorless, unsweetened drink often drunk mixed with tea or diluted with water and ice.

  • Brandy - distilled wine that is aged in wooden casks and generally served cool. The church of Eloele is noted for making fine brandies, but is rumored to have devised several poisons and other 'interesting additives' that can be placed in the strong tasting drink without being noticed. Cheaper pomace brandies uses fermented wine leavings (pressed grape skins, seeds, stems) and is not aged before consumption, pomace is drunk in Brechtur to aid digestion and mixed with coffee by the Khinasi.

  • Fruit brandy - distilled fruit wine, popular in elven lands. The wine is typically made from apples, plums, peaches, cherries, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, and apricots and the brandy drunk chilled or with ice. In the eastern Khinasi lands coconut brandy is popular. Brecht specialties include schnapps and Kirschwasser.

  • Gin. Gin is made from distilled fermented wheat and cane sugar , and is flavored with juniper mainly, but may also include sloe (blackthorn fruit) or orange, lemon, cinnamon, coriander, liquorice, anise. Gins are made mainly in southeast Anuire and Khinasi and consumed almost entirely in Anuire and are popular in cocktails amongst the nobility. Also known as Jenever amongst the Rjurik

  • Ouzo - after Absinthe was banned, goblin distillers removed the wormwood (and other psychoagents) and made a variety of other anise-based drinks such as ouzo and sambuca to try and retain their precious trade. The drink is still seen mainly as a goblin beverage and frowned upon by more worthy folk as a result, but its cheapness and strength continues to make it popular in some areas.

  • Rum - this cheap drink is made by distilling fermented sugar as a by product of making sugar and molasses. It is made almost entirely by the Khinasi and drunk by Anuirean and Brecht sailors. Rum is used in some cooking recipes by poorer Khinasi. Rum barrels used repeatedly tend to build up a sediment which can be melted out with boiling water and fermented again or mixed with grain alcohol to make an extraordinarily strong rum drunk only by those desperate to reach the extremes of inebriation.

  • Scumble - frost-distilled cider also called apple jack, scumble is drunk mainly by the poor and desperate. Scumble like most liquors is highly flammable, in the rare Rjurik heatwave barrels can become explosive, scumble is known to have adhesive properties when aflame in a similar manner to Khinasi fire. Scumble made by heat distillation is used by the Khinasi to scour paint, kill termites, and purify medical instruments, no sane Khinasi would even consider drinking it.

  • Tequila - made by the Khinasi from the leaves of the agave plant in the eastern rainforest mountains. Quality varies greatly and the drink is disdained by polite Khinasi for its strength which often induces drunkenness.

  • Vodka - distilled from rye/wheat grain, potatoes/sugar beet, and molasses. common only to the Rjurik and Vos who drink it neat, in northern Anuire it is never drunk neat, but is sometimes used in cocktails. A cocktail of vodka and liquorice called Salmiakki is popular in Rjurik lands, the strong flavor masks the alcohol which is often raw and results in severe drunkenness. Salmiakki is traditionally drunk before and after sled races and ice swimming.

  • Whisky - made of fermented grain mash (mostly barley) distilled two or three times (the latter common only in the notorious dwarf-spirits). Whisky must be aged in oak caskets and is used in the religious rites of Erik's druids much as Anuirean priests use wine in their rituals. Whisky is also known as Fire-water, Haelyn's blessing, Moradin's milk, and many other names. It is most popular amongst the Anuireans, Karamhul and Rjurik.


Mead is a fermented mix of honey and water, sometimes flavored with hops, spices, fruits or grain mash whose flavor is highly dependent on the source of nectar harvested by the bees who made the honey from which it is derived, and the various additives made to the mead.
Mead is the oldest alcohol of all, celebrated in the epic poems of ancient Aduria where mead was harvested from tree hollows after the rains drove out wild bee hives. It is said that Laerme summoned honeybees from Aduria to bring fertility to her fathers fields and the joy or mead to those who honored her.
Mead is famous for restorative and healing properties, and plays a central role in Rjurik culture where it is sacred to Laerme. Mead is less common in Khinasi due to the prevalence of cheap sugar, and similarly became rare in Anuire after the formation of the Empire drove the formation of huge trade routes between the east and west of Cerilia. The Vos celebrate mead as the only drink to attack its harvester, a boyish rite of passage in many Vos villages is the drunken harvesting of honeycomb without first pacifying the hive - the inevitable flight is said to test whether youths are ready to raid another tribe for a wife.
  • Honeywine - the simple mead made by farmers and villages from the hives about their land. The taste varies from season to season, these meads are rarely strongly alcoholic.

  • Rosemead - the hives from which the honey is sourced are placed in rose-gardens in spring (year round in the great gardens of Nowelton in Talinie), and rose petals are added to the fermenting brew. The resulting mead is famed for its properties as an aphrodisiac far and wide. In Talinie the newly weds are traditionally given Rosemead for a month after their marriage in a period known as a honeymoon.

  • Black mead - made by fermenting honey and blackcurrants with some other secret ingredient known only to the druids of the Emerald Spiral is said to induce visions.

  • Metheglin ? Metheglin starts with traditional mead but has herbs and/or spices added. Some of the most common metheglins are ginger, tea, orange peel, nutmeg, coriander, cinnamon, cloves or vanilla. Metheglins are commonly employed as folk medicines.

  • Pitarrilla ? Adurian drink made from a fermented mixture of wild honey, balche tree bark and fresh water.

  • Tej ? Tej is an Adurian mead, fermented with wild yeasts (and bacteria), and with the addition of gesho. Recipes vary from family to family, with some recipes leaning towards braggot with the inclusion of grains.

  • Goldenkiss - The Halfling brew of the Burrows combines a sweet taste with a serious alcoholic kick - but not the hint of a hangover the day following. Goldenkiss is famed across Brechtur and one of the few reasons the Halfling realm is ever thought of, even the elves of Coullabhie are said to prize the beverage.

  • Sidhe courage - The Sidhe have made mead for at least 20 millennia and routinely use it instead of water when crafting potions. Elven meads come in many varieties but four are particularly famed in human lands due to their popular use in bard's tales during the time of the Empire. These four meads are named after the seasons, the sidhe names are unknown in human lands.
    • Spring: This gentle mead is said to invigorate the weary, and rouse even the oldest man to dance, merriment, and other 'youthful' pursuits.

    • Summer: This potent mead is said to heal wounds and ease all sorrows, a single cup of the heady brew can inebriate the incautious.

    • Autumn: This dark mead is said to contain all the sorrow of ages, it induces reverie and wisdom and few men can drink it without weeping for fallen friends and comrades, most famed of all the elven meads, the taste of Autumn mead sends the years reeling past and a thousand tragic heroes who won some treasure from the elves in bards tales returned home decades after they set out to prove their valor from drinking autumn mead.
    • Winter mead is the mead of rage, bringing the mildest woman to murderous rage and sending warriors berserk fighting until they are cut apart. The tales of bards exaggerate of course, but the meads of the elves are nevertheless craved and respected across all Cerilia.

[top]Other alcohol

  • Kumis - made from fermented mares milk,where horse herds are less common it can be made from fermenting cows milk with added sugar and whey. This is an an ancient Basarji drink now common only in Binsada.

  • Kvass - made from fermented stale dark, sourdough rye bread - often flavored with herbs, strawberries, raisins, currants, lemons, cherries, apples or mint. Kvass is common in southern Rjurik, Vosgaard, and some northern realms of Anuire.

[top]Alcohol and religion

The religions of Cerilia have long recognized the effect of alcohol - both the loosening of moral character in the incautious drinker, and the transcendental abilities when used by the wise. The Khinasi discourage the excessive consumption of alcohol, but welcome its medicinal and spiritual properties.
The Khinasi advocate the moderate consumption of fine wines in rituals - spirits are disdained as prone to cause inebriation, beer is deemed a threat to public morals likewise. In private many Khinasi ignore such strictures, but in public ceremonies the Khinasi drink only from tiny tumblers of wine to openly show their restraint and reverence for their reasoning abilities.
Anuirean priests often prefer mead to wine - many rituals use beeswax and thus monasteries produce mead as a by-product of candle making. Since wines do not grow well in Northern Anuire mead is more often used for ceremonial purposes in the north, Talinie in particular uses mead almmost exclusively. Southern Anuire prefers wine, while the Brecht tradition of fine wine-making also makes wine more common in their ceremonies.
The Rjurik and Vos exult in strong spirits considering their consumption a measure of a warrior's prowess - in Vosgaard the Priests of Belinik encourage the consumption of alcohol to give weaklings the courage to fight - and ensure that warriors with weak constitutions are winnowed swiftly from any band. So prevalent is alcohol in Vosgaard that Khinasi merchants joke that only the winter witches are sober in all the land.

Thanks to Wikipedia for much of the information in this article.

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