"Never trust a karakhai when she offers you what she calls a 'MILD' vinumaca"
-Gizoya, Merman Trader
Every civilized nation on Scarterra has some form of fermented beverages drank for recreation. Most nomadic barbarians still managed to ferment some beverages.
The fermentation processes that Scarterrans take for granted are not available for Scaraquans because if you try to isolate some fermenting wine or ale under the sea, it will become diluted with salt water almost immediately.
and all the others have tongues to taste and have moments of time they would prefer not to be sober.
So what do Scaraquans partake in when they hang out in a pub?
They do it with a lot of techniques. While every method is different, they are all grouped under the blanket term "vinumaca" which is an essentially a euphemism for "recreational substance"
Most cultures have a preferred method for creating vinumaca that their ancestors pioneered but as the Oshamni Empire
expands its reach, new innovations have begun spreading throughout the oceans like never before. Recreational innovations are spreading faster than most.
Using Scarterran Methods
It's rare but not unheard of for Scaraquans and Scarterrans to trade. Merfolk are usually the ones who do this, or at least they are the middlemen in these transactions since they look similar to most humans
, they are less intimidating to land folk. Some Scaraquans trade directly for wine or spirits.
A few innovative Scaraquans have studied how Scarterrans ferment liquids and copied these techniques themselves, either brewing drinks on floating containers on the surface of the sea or using magical air pockets, or setting up distilleries on top of isolated rocky shoals. This is extremely rare. Generally if a Scaraquan is going to this much trouble to copy Scarterran manufacturing methods, they will try to forge metal rather than brew alcohol since metal is highly prized beneath the waves.
Once in the water, a wine, ale, or anything similar will disperse pretty quickly so Scaraquans have drink them very fast once opened. Some time ago, a Scaraquan had the idea to add solidifying agent such as gelatin to make the alcohol still drinkable but solid enough to not immediately disperse into the sea when uncorked.
For obvious reasons, Scaraquans make it a point to learn about the all the aquatic life around where they live. There are plenty fish toxins potent enough to cripple or kill a Merfolk or even a Karakhai but there are a lot of fish with toxins evolved to deal with much smaller animals than Scarquans.
A toxin that will instantly kill a small guppy might give an adult Merfolk a light buzz. Scaraquans have taken to figuring out what levels of toxin will give them a desired effect. Ojiongo are generally considered the most knowledgeable on this knowing which toxins can be used for vinumaca, which can be used for weapons, and which can be used for medicinal purposes but this is an area of lore that almost every Scaraquan race has done some of their own research on.
Sometimes a large toxic fish is caught wild and processed carefully. This is the common method used to obtain vinumaca used by Karakhai
and other nomadic sea people.
Smaller toxic fish are sometimes farmed and kept in cages, for Scaraquans might reach into to grab and eat live. Domesticated toxic fish can be selectively bred for different flavors or effects. This was pioneered by Ojiongo
but widely adopted by other Scaraquan races. A variation pioneered by Merfolk
but spread to other races is to take more highly toxic sea life and lick them rather than eat them outright akin to real world toad lickers.
Chemical Vents and Elemental Vents
The ocean floor of Scaraqua is littered with vents that unleash various elements into the sea. Some of these were created by the gods Resona
as a gift to Scaraqua. Some of these events are naturally occurring connections to the The Elemental Plane
A few of these events have gasses that can make Scaraquans mildly high when inhaled (such as pure oxygen). A vent in a settled area could have a pub or den built around it and different herbs and the like can be added to the vent for different "flavors."
It is mostly Astalakians
that practice this as they spend a lot more time on the ocean floor than other Scaraquans do, but they are usually more than willing to share their vents with other races.
"Kontona's Hair" is a nickname for a newly discovered type of sea weed called by some sages and naturalists "griseobitumaus", but that is hard to pronounce so people use the colloquialism. It is a dark grey sea weed that vaguely looks like a mermaid's hair in the water.
cultists were the first to discover that the slime formed naturally from this sea weed is intoxicating. It can be fermented a bit more from three or four days left in the sunlight in a floating container on the surface of the sea. It doesn't taste very good, but it is perhaps the easiest way for Scaraquans to create vinumaca. Since its discovery, a wide variety of Scaraquans have sought to cultivate Kontona's Hair.