Alcohol

Alcohol has been part of Tairos for as long as history has been recorded. From early fermented fruit juices to the masterfully distilled concoctions crafted by brewers like Ackley Ales alcohol has become part of the backbone of commerce, community, and craftsmanship.
 
The earliest known reference to alcohol consumption can be found in tribal drawings depicting primitive elves creating brews based on tree sap and fermented pear juices. It's believed these simple brewing secrets soon made their way to human and halfling proto-tribes and may have helped play a part in kickstarting their civilizations.
 
During even the darkest of times alcohol has remained in steady demand. For example; during the Fang Crusades merchants would risk life and limb to deliver drink to the front line troops in the depths of The Serpent Lands. It has also played a part in protests against The Autumn Queen when halfling brewers burned down her distilleries and attacked shipments of her favorite spirits.
 


 

Popular Spirits

 
In the Balmoran plains there is plenty of access to land ideal for growing corn, wheat, hops, and barley which makes places like Ghal Pelor, Lockland, and Homestead ideal locations to find beer breweries producing reds, pale ales, wheat beers and even strong stouts. Ackley Ales is also located in this region and are famous for their refreshing drafts that mix dwarven brewing techniques with the ingredients common to the region. While beer dominates the area spirits are also common though less so. Wine is a rarer drink as the harsh seasons tend to destroy fragile crops like grapes. The halflings in the area are fond of creating sparkling wine-like drinks as well as ciders using native and domesticated types of apples.
 
Near Frial and all throughout the Rylan Woods the consumption of Beer wanes in favor of whiskey and other barrel-aged spirits. The wood from the Rylan area is said to produce fine barrels that impart superior taste when compared to those of elsewhere. There are however; growing markets for the drinks created by their neighbors such as Ackley Ales and wines from Melanthris. There are a number of rare and exotic fruits that grow in the woods and those in the alcohol business in Frial or Rylan are often willing to pay a premium for such ingredients.
 
Lake Lunarch has always been ideal for growing crops that require warm or gentle weather. The lakeside farming communities produce fruits such as Pomelo, grapes, lemons, cherries, plums, strawberries, and guavas all of which have a place in traditional high elven wines. House Mithienye is famous for their wineries and the quality of their product. Most of the fruit orchards are directly owned or allied with them and kept separate from the communities of Lakeside Elves. They're treated like a combination of fortified palace and idyllic garden that many of Melanthris' wealthiest often visit on holiday. There is a modest following for beers crafted using ingredients common to the lake area as well. However; some drinks are universally reviled by the city-dwelling elves. The ciders and sparkling wine recipes of the halflings are considered a child's drink at best and looked down upon. Alternatively: the more simple and rural lakeside elves are happy with just about any drink they can get. Beers made from whatever their local crop happens to be are very common as is a heavily watered-down version of wine that is widely consumed and very cheap.
 
The Tengu Town are not particularly fond of the taste of alcohol themselves but do consider fermented berries something of a treat. If eaten in enough quantity they can certainly produce similar effects but even then the mysterious avians rarely overindulge. That said, their little community is ideally situation to grow many of the ingredients once only found near lake lunarch. While their operations are still young they are making steady inroads with communities in the Balmoran Plains and even Baradrad. Wine merchants in Melanthris who had been used to decades of premium pricing for their product are now suddenly finding themselves faces with competition. As Tengu businesses continue to assimilate, fabricate, and knock-off popular drinks they're garnering powerful enemies such as Uster Ackley and the high lords of House Mithienye.
 
Baradrad is mostly reliant on trade with others for alcohol and due to the dehydrating nature of the drink along with the extreme of the climate; it's not as commonly consumed as it is elsewhere. That is not to say it doesn't happen though. Baradrad has numerous cafes and taverns where foreign liquors are found in abundance though at prices that would make plains-dwellers gawk. The region does have affordable, local options though. Drinks distilled from cacti, agave, sotol, and other desert plants are common though much stronger than their northern counterparts. These plants are baked in clay ovens for several days and then left to ferment before being pressed to retrieve the sap from which the final product is eventually made. Most northerners would describe these drinks as generally earthy or pine tasting while some can be smokey or crisp. It's not something that is particularly popular outside of the desert region though a small but growing popular of Baradradi in Ghal Pelor are eager recreate the drink of their homeland.
 
Far Harbor is a place where alcohol is in desperate demand yet dreadfully few are meeting it. The most popular drinks on the island are rums and simple, watered down wines. They climate of the area and the western coast of Tairos are ideally suited for created the drink and with relatively close access to the Rylan woods they're able to produce white or dark versions. However; the equipment needed to produce it locally is expensive, heavy, and hard to come by. Instead, the notorious island relies on the coastal communities and the lakeside elves to supply them with drink. Many of these little trade hubs and townships are based entirely around producing alcohol for Far Harbor and many of them are allied with specific mercenaries, pirates, and traders. Raids against a rival's drink makers are frequent and bloody affairs that demand fierce retribution. There are a rare few in Far Harbor itself that make their alcohol locally and use just about any ingredients they can get such as product from mainland Tairos or even exotic fruits from Big Ruk or Stepping Stone Island. Many adventurers and traders are able to make a living simply picking suitable vegetation for these distillers and brewers.
 
More isolated and unusual places tend toward having only one primary type of alcohol at their disposal and while variety would be appreciated it is seldom come by. Talbot for example is a place where cider and mead dominate. This is due to the expansive apple orchards that were planted by the Fae long ago. Mead is popular in the region thanks to the apiaries and eager bees fed from the nectar of those apple trees. Talbot's honey and honey-made products are famous throughout the region known as the Rylan plains all the way through to trade posts near the old Gnome empire. Clan Dougal favors their own rum-like drink or mead both of which are always fermented with some kind of meat or blood and made in leather pouches crafted from the skin of their victims. Those brave enough to taste it often have to admit the Dougals are masters of their craft even if the method is nightmarish. Virtually nothing suitable for making alcohol grows in the Stormlands but that doesn't stop these notorious coastal raiders from taking whatever they can from places like Frostmere, Ghal Ankhar, and even as far south as Tengu Town.
 
The further north one goes the more the flavor pallet of the Balmoran and Rylan plains is replaced by that of Frostmere and Ghal Ankhar. Honey-wine or mead is thought to be the first alcohol made by primitive human tribes. When majority of the tribes settled into the plains to found Balmoral the breakaway members that would eventually become the Frostmerites took with them the mead making expertise. While the tradition of mead drinking died off early in Balmoral's history the Frostmerite recipes are almost identical to those consumed prehistory. They brought with them their apiaries and slowly cultivated their bees into a sub-species that's able to survive at much lower temperatures to their southern cousins and that can live off the meager flowering plants and fruits trees found in the region. These bees are still entirely dependent on keepers however. Alongside mead there is a considerable preference for the beers made in neighboring Ghal Ankhar. While their mountain home is not suited for traditional beer brewing crops there are comparable, naturally occurring, mosses and fungi. When heated and pressed these ingredients produce a similar tasting product to that of the stouts found in the plains. A drink of equal popularity in both Frostmere and Ghal Ankhar is a clear spirit made from hardy root vegetables similar to potatoes. The drink, known as Hark, is notoriously strong and quick to inebriate.

Mechanics & Inner Workings

It should be noted that many of the alcohols made in past centuries will still be viable today and that's thanks to the abundance of magic that once existed. Distillers and brewers would often have access to minor enchantments that could be worked into glassblowing, cork making, and the barrels made by coopers to ensure their products could stand the test of time. Such magic is lost today and drinks will quickly spoil or turn to vinegar. Many in the alcohol business will pay premiums for barrels, bottles and corks from these earlier times to help preserve their own creations.
Item type
Consumable, Food / Drink

Comments

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Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
3 Jun, 2020 05:41

Great article, I think it would really enhance readbility if you break the popular spirits section a bit in smaller parts (header > paragraph)

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