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Alcoholic Beverages of Glorantha

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I once had a player who decided to play a Minlinster brewer, so I put a little work into the various types of booze commonly found in Central Genertela, especially Sartarite beverages (for the Brew skill) and Pelorian drinks (need something to despise for that Despise Foreign Drinks skill).

Despise Foreign Drink (Personality Skill) Minlinster hates the Lunar drink djinn, which has no positive benefits and many evil side-effects.  Lunar officers use djinn to make Martinets, their traditional drink.  Lunar soldiers drink it straight or mix it with a bubbly magical potion intended to help fend off tropical diseases.  Another military related import is wodaka, brought by Carmanian soldiers in the Lunar army.  (Carmanians make their Martinets with wodaka.)  In addition, rhum has started to appear in Sartar, imported by the Wolf Pirates from the southern continent of Pamaltela.  All three (but especially djinn) are popular with the poor, hopeless, and destitute refugees from shattered clans who clutter the streets of Sartar’s cities.  Touch not the Demon Rhum, the Villainous Wodaka or the Devil Djinn!

So what are the common alcoholic beverages in your game? Here are mine:

BEER/ALE - Brewed all over Glorantha, the main drink of the Sartarites. Made from grain, usually barley, and flavored with herbs, often hops.  Varieties (which require Minlinster magic to make) include:

COLD BEER: Beer which is always magically chilled and refreshing, no matter how warm the environment.  Cold Beer never has any negative side effects for the drinker and never causes a hangover.  It produces a sense of refreshment and well-being when drunk.

GOOD ALE: A satisfying ale.  Drinking Good Ale alleviates any feelings of fatigue and helps insure a good night’s sleep.  If imbibed in excess, it will get the drinker drunk, though the hangover will be mild.  

STOUT BEER: An especially hearty and filling dark beer (also known as Strong Beer, Winter Beer, Darkseason Beer or simply “the Dark”).  A pint of the Dark leaves the drinker as full as if they’d had an entire meal.  Several kegs of Strong Beer can mean the difference between survival and starvation in harsh winters.  Strong Beer has virtually no side effects (aside from a bit of burping and mild flatulence) and never causes a hangover.  Traditionally Heortlings only drink the Dark in the winter, but recently it has become popular to drink it all the time, mostly because the Lunars find the stuff disgusting.

MEAD - A mild alcohol made from honey. Favored by mountain or forest clans who have trouble growing grain. The Telmori make an excellent mead. There's one magical variation of mead:

MINLINSTER’S MEAD: An exceptional mead.  Drinking Minlinster’s Mead aids in social discourse.  Anyone drinking a bottle gets a bonus to Sing, Orate, Dance, and Play (Instrument) equal to the Brewer’s Brew Skill/5.  Mead will get the user drunk.  All other skills get a negative modifier equal to the Brewer’s Brew Skill/10.  Hangovers are mild.  

LIQUOR: Brandtwyn (when the base is grapes) or, more commonly, Uisce (when the base is malted barley) are the strong drinks of the Orlanthi. The Boldhome Thunderbolt is a traditional Sartarite drink made by dropping a shot of uisce into a pint of stout. Recently master-brewed uisces made from single malts have become extremely trendy in Glamour and other Lunar cities.  Also recently the Lunars have placed a tax on uisce production, though brandtwyn, mostly made by the pro-Lunar Colymar, can still be produced tax free.  The Lunars have been surprised at the vehemence of the opposition to this Uisce Tax. NOTE:  Uisce and brandtwyn are both in high demand as exports and can be very expensive. 

ENCHANTED UISCE or BRANDTWYN: Drinking these potent beverages gives mortals an insight into the divine.  While under the influence of these magical liquors, all Mythology checks are boosted by the Brewer’s Brew Skill/5, but only if the liquor has been aged for a number of years equal to the bonus.  This bonus carries over to the next day if the liquor is drunk in preparation for a religious ceremony.  All other skills are decreased by the same number (regardless of the Uisce’s age).  Hangovers are mild if liquor is used in moderation, but can be severe if too much liquor is consumed. 

WINE:  The Colymar Tribe grows grapes and makes a late-harvest wine wine, the famous Clearwine. When conditions are right, grapes are harvested after the first frost to make icewine. Wine may be further distilled into Brandtwyn.

SONTI: The rice wine of the Lunar Empire. Made where ever rice is grown. The Darjinni make excellent sonti.

LUNAR BEER: Terrible stuff, if you ask the Sartarites. Pelorian beer frequently contains rice or corn mash in addition to barley and wheat. Even most Lunars don't drink their own beers. Instead, they prefer...

LUNAR WINE: Lunars love wine. They make countless varieties, using all sorts of grapes. The best Lunar wines are prized worldwide. Lunar soldiers receive a daily wine ration. When marching, they carry skins of wine vinegar called Posca, which they mix with the local water. Posca is blessed by their priests and mixing it into local water prevents the local river gods from cursing them with the Brown Water Flux.

MOONSHINE: A Pelorian strong alcohol made from corn mash. Popular in Tarsh.

RHUM: The demon rhum. Originally from Pamaltela but also brewed in Pithdaros. Rhum is a strong alcohol made from beet sugar or cane sugar. Since the opening, rhum is increasingly common in Genertela, especially in Maniria. Rhum can be brewed much stronger than traditional Sartarite drinks and locals who drink it can become drunker than they might expect with much worse hangovers.

DJINN: The hard alcohol of Peloria, a clear spirit made from wheat or potato mash, then flavored with juniper berries. Like rhum, it's strong enough to catch Sartarites off-guard. The Martinet, favored drink of the Lunar officer corps, is made with djinn, a dash of sweet wine, and olives. Lunar officers also favor djinn mixed with "The Tonic," a potion made to help soldiers fight off disease. Many of the poor Sartarite refugees crowding Boldhome, Alda-chur and Nochet are addicted to djinn.

WODAKA: A clear Carmania spirit made from potatoes. Carmanian Martinets are made with Wodaka.

 

 

 

Edited by RHW
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YGMV, and it doesn't break anything, but spirits feel very anachronistic to me. They are a much later invention than the bronze/early iron age theme Glorantha tends toevoke, and so I don't thinkI'd have anything requiring distillation around.

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1 minute ago, Karhast said:

YGMV, and it doesn't break anything, but spirits feel very anachronistic to me. They are a much later invention than the bronze/early iron age theme Glorantha tends toevoke, and so I don't thinkI'd have anything requiring distillation around.

Yeah, I can see that, but in STORM TRIBE, Minlinster very specifically has a DISTILL LIQUOR spell, so canonically,* Theyalans have some sort of spirit, and whiskey and brandy seemed the most likely.

Also redcloaks swigging martinis was impossible for me to resist.

 

*I think STORM TRIBE is canon, right?

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Huh, I wasn't aware. I'm definitely a grouch, and still wouldn't include that, but I suppose that is ample reason to consider spirits canon.

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For what it is worth, I've done a lot of thinking about alcoholic beverages in Glorantha. Important Note: *STORM TRIBE and THUNDER REBELS are not canon.

BEER: Everyone in agricultural lands drinks beer. It is the most common drink of the Pelorian basin (but see Rice Wine), less so in the lands south of Kero Fin. Many varieties of beer are known. Beer is closely connected with bread making (the yeast from beer is used to make dough).

WINE: South of Kero Fin, wine is the most popular drink. White wine is grown throughout Heartland and Sartar. Red wine in Caladraland and Esrolia. Most commoners drink watered-wine, unadulterated wine is drunk by the wealthy and in festivals. The Lunar nobility values wine greatly. The ice wine brewed in Colymar lands and the red wines of Vinavale are particularly valued.

MEAD: A high status sweet drink. Particularly popular in Dragon Pass.

BURNED WINE: This Sartarite alchemical drink is claimed to be either the invention of the Lhankor Mhy cult or the result of a misuse of Dwarf artifacts. 

RICE WINE: In old Dara Happa, rice wine was the preferred drink of the urban population. It is still the main drink of the Lunar urban population.

CORN BEER: Drunk throughout the Lunar Provinces, Doblian and Oraya satrapies. This low-alcohol drink is thick and creamy with a sour taste. 

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Jeff said:

For what it is worth, I've done a lot of thinking about alcoholic beverages in Glorantha. Important Note: *STORM TRIBE and THUNDER REBELS are not canon.

BEER: Everyone in agricultural lands drinks beer. It is the most common drink of the Pelorian basin (but see Rice Wine), less so in the lands south of Kero Fin. Many varieties of beer are known. Beer is closely connected with bread making (the yeast from beer is used to make dough).

WINE: South of Kero Fin, wine is the most popular drink. White wine is grown throughout Heartland and Sartar. Red wine in Caladraland and Esrolia. Most commoners drink watered-wine, unadulterated wine is drunk by the wealthy and in festivals. The Lunar nobility values wine greatly. The ice wine brewed in Colymar lands and the red wines of Vinavale are particularly valued.

MEAD: A high status sweet drink. Particularly popular in Dragon Pass.

BURNED WINE: This Sartarite alchemical drink is claimed to be either the invention of the Lhankor Mhy cult or the result of a misuse of Dwarf artifacts. 

RICE WINE: In old Dara Happa, rice wine was the preferred drink of the urban population. It is still the main drink of the Lunar urban population.

CORN BEER: Drunk throughout the Lunar Provinces, Doblian and Oraya satrapies. This low-alcohol drink is thick and creamy with a sour taste. 

 

I totally spaced some other important drinks:

KVAS or KUMIS: fermented milk from horse, bison, high llama, or other herd beast. Low alcohol content. Drunk by Praxians, Grazelanders, Sartarites, and some Lunars.

FRUIT WINE and CIDER:  Beverages made from apple, pears, plums, berries, etc. are popular throughout Dragon Pass and Peloria.

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We know mushroom-based drinks of the dark elves. Are there teas with psychotropic or simply bedazzling properties, too, beyond the standard caffeine bush enjoyed in Seshnela and Kralorela? Beers and ales and meads are made from a mash that isn't that different from stewing tea leaves or ground coffee beans, only given some time and the right conditions to ferment.

I wonder whether the Gloranthans have a concept of alcohol as being the intoxicant inside beer and wine, and whether they cultivate yeasts or just are lucky to have natural yeasts (or "spirits acting like yeast") on some of their ingredients. (A similar question can be asked about breads - there are plenty of ways for making bread-like grain products without yeasts.) The "Burned Wine" mentioned for the Sartarites doesn't really identify the substance, nor does it tell what fermentation material exactly was put into the still.  Giving the dredges a go before feeding them to the swine would be the economic way to go, unless inebriated hogs are part of a traditional festival, sooth-saying or similar.

Speaking of wines, there are white wines made from the liquid extracted in the mashing of the wine, and red wines made from fermenting the entire pulp. Which are produced where? Clearwine sounds like a white wine to me.

Wines made from other fruit than grapes might offer such a choice, too.

But then, most players will only be interested in the results, and how they get served. Is there a culture mixing moderatly heated malty beer and milk?

Reading about the maize beer reminded me of the special kick of the Elkoi beer described in Griffin Mountain. Are such side effects still in?

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50 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The "Burned Wine" mentioned for the Sartarites doesn't really identify the substance, nor does it tell what fermentation material exactly was put into the still.  Giving the dredges a go before feeding them to the swine would be the economic way to go, unless inebriated hogs are part of a traditional festival, sooth-saying or similar.

Speaking of wines, there are white wines made from the liquid extracted in the mashing of the wine, and red wines made from fermenting the entire pulp. Which are produced where? Clearwine sounds like a white wine to me.

Clearwine is confirmed as a white wine on page 103 of RQ:G, also mentioning it as being an ice wine.

I imagine Burned Wine would cover any number of forms of brandy and other distilled drinks.

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15 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

Clearwine is confirmed as a white wine on page 103 of RQ:G, also mentioning it as being an ice wine.

I imagine Burned Wine would cover any number of forms of brandy and other distilled drinks.

Correct and correct. Clearwine proper is an iced wine, although most of the stuff called Clearwine is actually just a white wine. A tasty one though - probably similar to a nice dry Riesling.

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6 minutes ago, Jeff said:

Correct and correct. Clearwine proper is an iced wine, although most of the stuff called Clearwine is actually just a white wine. A tasty one though - probably similar to a nice dry Riesling.

And you can imagine the low esteem the wine-drinking Colymar have for the beer-swilling Lismelder. "Ducks and Grey Dogs, both ignorant of the Sweet Green Woman's blessings!"

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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

And you can imagine the low esteem the wine-drinking Colymar have for the beer-swilling Lismelder. "Ducks and Grey Dogs, both ignorant of the Sweet Green Woman's blessings!"

Equally I can see the Lismelder's dislike of the Colymar's wine sipping, ignoring Esrola's gift of Barley.

Wouldn't surprise me if Ernaldan holy days feature a lot of wines, beers, and ciders all being poured to celebrate the bounty of the earth.

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6 hours ago, Jeff said:

FRUIT WINE and CIDER:  Beverages made from apple, pears, plums, berries, etc. are popular throughout Dragon Pass and Peloria.

Cider was the pre-eminent drink in my old Imther campaign, with a lot of orchards in the lands south of the Imther Mountains.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Speaking of wines, there are white wines made from the liquid extracted in the mashing of the wine, and red wines made from fermenting the entire pulp. Which are produced where? Clearwine sounds like a white wine to me.

I believe Esrolia noted for its red wines.  Kosh and Thelos both cited for wine in the Guide.

 

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There were clay pot stills in various places in Classical Antiquity, and even today traditional Mezcal production utilizes the hot-coals+stones+wet-leaves+soil-lid slow-cooker pit that is largely unchanged since the Neolithic. In the final stages, vapors condense down air-cooled reed outflows once they bubble up out of the clay tapered-amphora/pot-still from the lower part buried in the slow-cooker pit into the air exposed upper part. 

In a Gloranthan context, I fully expect that Lodril, Veskarthen, Caladra, et al cults have rites where they get together with the local Grain Goddess cult to bury His Fire & Her Fruits together in a fire pit for a few days of debauchery fueled by the products of their union within the steaming mound (with some saved in clay jugs for special occasions, no doubt).

Perhaps Traditionalist holdouts in Tarsh may even make a point of raiding their Lunarized lowland cousins for maize with which to fortify their mash. The low landers and their Lunar friends may be content with their "moon shine," but only those who wet their grain with the mountain dew from the slopes of Kiero Fin herself can brew the true White Lightning.

Edited by JonL
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1 minute ago, jajagappa said:

Cider was the pre-eminent drink in my old Imther campaign, with a lot of orchards in the lands south of the Imther Mountains.

I think apple wine and cider are common throughout Dragon Pass and Peloria. Cider is drunk "young," apple wine needs to be aged.  

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14 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

I believe Esrolia noted for its red wines.  Kosh and Thelos both cited for wine in the Guide.

 

Correct! As was stated in my original post.

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Good on you for mentioning Kumis, I was about to mention it and Kefir (although the alcohol content in the latter is practically irrelevant).

I was also about to mention the existence of baked clay stills as far back as 1-200 AD in modern day Pakistan, so distilling was not entirely unknown. However, these methods did not produce the strength we usually associate with liquors today. Somewhere between a strong wine and a weak brandy, as it were. Still plenty to get drunk off though. The existence of stolen dwarven apparati also open up for this (Or, in my opinion - Openhandist Quicksilver Dwarves from Greatway who travel and are paid handsomely for their expertise, but guard it jealously, YGWW), as does spells provided by alcohol-related deities.

Speaking of, what's the status on potatoes in Glorantha?

Lastly, one of the reasons why alcoholic beverages are so widespread and were for much of history consumed daily and regularly, is partly because they help prevent diseases that could otherwise lurk in ordinary water. Are there any Gloranthan associations between "alcohol"-deities and, say, protection against diseases?

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You've all missed the hard-core troll booze revealed in Trollpak. Hoomanz beware!

I don't have it in front of me at the moment, but remember it's mind rotting properties...

Edited by kr0p0s
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I remain very proud of the beautiful text that Greg Privat gave us for Les Erudits de l'Ambigu number 3

My illustration of a wonderful Priest of Minlister for the lovely article he gave us :

Alcoologue_zpsqwuepo37.jpg

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4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

 The existence of stolen dwarven apparati also open up for this (Or, in my opinion - Openhandist Quicksilver Dwarves from Greatway who travel and are paid handsomely for their expertise, but guard it jealously, YGWW), as does spells provided by alcohol-related deities.

I'd reckon the presence of Alchemy as a craft/art/knowledge increases the probability of 'proof liquor' being a commodity in Glorantha. Whether Dwarven or from the humans who know the techniques...

4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Speaking of, what's the status on potatoes in Glorantha?

I don't see why they wouldn't exist... There's a decent (and increased, I imagine, after the Opening) trade around the world. All the nightshade-relatives have a place, I reckon, and would have been propagated widely.

4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Lastly, one of the reasons why alcoholic beverages are so widespread and were for much of history consumed daily and regularly, is partly because they help prevent diseases that could otherwise lurk in ordinary water. Are there any Gloranthan associations between "alcohol"-deities and, say, protection against diseases?

"Don't drink plain water! That stuff'll kill ya!" :)

Even if the yeast wasn't strong enough to sterilise water itself, dirty water often won't support yeasty brewing, so it's a test for potability (and the brewers would seek out clean-enough water, so brews would be largely safe). Teas and other boiled beverages serve a similar hygienic purpose.

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2 hours ago, womble said:

...

6 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

...
Speaking of, what's the status on potatoes in Glorantha?
...

I don't see why they wouldn't exist... There's a decent (and increased, I imagine, after the Opening) trade around the world. All the nightshade-relatives have a place, I reckon, and would have been propagated widely.

...

 

Regarding potatoes in Glorantha see this thread:

 

 

Edited by Oracle
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16 hours ago, Jeff said:

BEER: Everyone in agricultural lands drinks beer. It is the most common drink of the Pelorian basin (but see Rice Wine), less so in the lands south of Kero Fin. Many varieties of beer are known. Beer is closely connected with bread making (the yeast from beer is used to make dough).

WINE: South of Kero Fin, wine is the most popular drink. White wine is grown throughout Heartland and Sartar. Red wine in Caladraland and Esrolia. Most commoners drink watered-wine, unadulterated wine is drunk by the wealthy and in festivals. The Lunar nobility values wine greatly. The ice wine brewed in Colymar lands and the red wines of Vinavale are particularly valued.

Lunars as wine drinkers and Sartarites as beer drinkers instead of vice versa  is a hill I am prepared to die on!

I feel like Kerofinela and Heortland, barring some exceptions like Colymar, are terrible places for growing grapes. Grape vines thrive in places with long dry summers and moderate winters. Too much cold and the vines freeze, too much humidity and they get rot. I believe winters are harsh in most of Orlanthland and it rains a lot, both because of altitude and myth, so vines would struggle there. Colymar is the lowest lying part of Sartar (more or less) and probably has some magical blessing which moderates their winters and/or protects their grapes.  So while most Orlanthi drink beer, cider, and mead, the Colymar stand out as wine-drinkers. Their beer-drinking brethren likely find it suspicious and effete. “Of course them Colymari went purple. They already drink like the reds, so no wonder they worship like ‘em.”

Grapes should grow well in Esrolia. In Caladraland, it’s probably too humid and they drink more palm and date wine. But in the Manirian uplands, beer is likely much easier to make.

Peloria, on the other hand has magically moderated winters, originally because of Yelm, now because of the Icebreaker cult. Summers are long and hot (Yelm again), so grapes would thrive. Dara Happans prize their round yellow grapes and have made wine since before time began, bright and yellow like the sun. Since the Moonrise, dark red wines are more preferred, though Peloria produces all types. Pink wines are all the rage with the Glamouratti these days.

In Peloria, beer is what the Lodrili peasants drink. Poor benighted folks. Rice wine is for the Darjinni of all classes.

And finally, I refuse to surrender my posca drinking Lunar soldiers. Posca viva est.

YGMV... But MGIR. 😃

 

For me the wine/beer/sake map of Genertela goes:

BEER: Most of Fronela, Upper Ralios, Upper Maniria, historical Orlanthland, Talastar, Northern Kralorela and Ignorance, Teshnos, Pelorian Lodrili, Pavis

WINE: Esrolia, Pelorian cities, Dara Happa, the Janube Valley, Safelster, Seshnela, Colymar, Sun Dome, Sun County

RICE WINE: Darjin, Southern Kralorela, Teshnos, Vormain

OTHER: Caladraland, Ramalia, Coastal Maniria, Elder Races, Pent, Prax

The wine/beer line between Peloria and Kerofinela has drifted north and south over time. Right now the wine line and the Glowline are almost exactly the same. Coincidence? I think not.

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3 hours ago, womble said:

“Don't drink plain water! That stuff'll kill ya.”

Local water spirits are notoriously hostile to outsiders who haven’t made the proper sacrifices in order to drink them, and often curse them with “Engazi’s Revenge.” That’s why Yanafal Tarnils invented posca. Add it to the water and it makes you immune to the Revenge. Others may credit the phalanx or the magic units for the successful spread of the Lunar Way, but the grunts know, it’s posca that conquered the world.

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3 hours ago, RHW said:

Local water spirits are notoriously hostile to outsiders who haven’t made the proper sacrifices in order to drink them, and often curse them with “Engazi’s Revenge.” That’s why Yanafal Tarnils invented posca. Add it to the water and it makes you immune to the Revenge. Others may credit the phalanx or the magic units for the successful spread of the Lunar Way, but the grunts know, it’s posca that conquered the world.

Had to read up on posca, thanks for making me aware of it. Very interesting stuff, and a useful detail for my own worldbuilding fun.

I enjoy these down-to-earth details taken from history or ethnography. Like how the Nuer people use ash from their dimmed fireplaces to brush their teeth (which is useful, since it is finely granulated and mostly sterile, and since their fires are from cow dung, it is less abrasive than wood ash, apparently), or how some Melanesians have been known to assign a numeric value to each bodypart, which makes remembering arithmetic a lot easier (Sumerians did something similar for just their finger joints and knuckles). Just simple, everyday stuff that is great to put into a story to make it feel more fully realized.

Anyway, I'm getting off track. Thanks.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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7 hours ago, RHW said:

I feel like Kerofinela and Heortland, barring some exceptions like Colymar, are terrible places for growing grapes. Grape vines thrive in places with long dry summers and moderate winters. Too much cold and the vines freeze, too much humidity and they get rot. I believe winters are harsh in most of Orlanthland and it rains a lot, both because of altitude and myth, so vines would struggle there. Colymar is the lowest lying part of Sartar (more or less) and probably has some magical blessing which moderates their winters and/or protects their grapes.  So while most Orlanthi drink beer, cider, and mead, the Colymar stand out as wine-drinkers. Their beer-drinking brethren likely find it suspicious and effete. “Of course them Colymari went purple. They already drink like the reds, so no wonder they worship like ‘em.”

 

That's the Southern California bias coming out! Actually, you can grow wine in some places with surprisingly cold winters, and even wet summers. I tend to think of much of Dragon Pass being loosely comparable to Switzerland, Austria, and Northern Italy (or to areas in the Balkans like Bulgaria, northern Greece, or Romania), all of which have very long traditions of wine-making.

You are correct that good red wine does require long dry summers and moderate winters, but white wines don't. 
pacchetto_poschiavo-wine.jpg 

 

csm_Tramin-allesfotoCom-2640_23ccdc6fb4.

469042687-Vineyards-in-autumn-in-Valle-I

As an aside, the Lunar Heartland is climate-wise more like the upper Missouri or Mississippi valleys, with cold winters and hot summers. I know of far more good wines from the Vinschgau than I do from Illinois.  

 

 

Edited by Jeff
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