In certain periods of Andal history there were whole nations that seldom were sober, rather like present-day Russia or eighteenth-century England, but in the period which most interests me, the 17th century, people were comparatively sober. Wine, beer, spirits, lemonade, fruit juice, tea (herbal or otherwise) and a few other concoctions are all available.
Wine is the most favoured beverage, and is often made from fruit other than grapes. Cherry-wine (arsoi) is popular. Rice-wine (risol) is a specialty of southern regions. Grape-wine (pesam) is more popular in the eastern parts of the continent, where the climate is more suited to the vine. The Charyan heartland has a vine-growing region around the city of Nroi, but the best wine produced there is not much better than the plainest french vin de table. Some excellent wine is also grown in the western kingdomlet of Wangla.
Except in the northern country of Peroi, beer (soi'rezet, literally bread-wine) is made in a very simple style; bread baked from rye is broken into pieces, steeped in water, honey and herbs and left to ferment, producing a beverage rather like kvass, which is quite tasty with a dash of lemon-juice1.
In the mountains of the Krabrus, a beer is produced from fermented millet, steeped in boiling water with some sugar added. This is drunk through a straw, rather like the thonba of the Himalayan Limbu people. Again, rather tasty.
Peroian beer is made from malted barley to which bitter herbs are added, sometimes even hopped. So, even a glass of Heineken can add to the atmosphere of a role-playing session in Andal, provided the party is visiting this poor country of fishermen and artisans.
Whether it is beer, wine or lemonade, I don't know, but in the easternmost empire of Matrai, a drink made mainly from honey, herbs and a bit of fermented maize is drunk. I don't have a recipe for it, but mead mixed with cool water and lemon juice will be quite close.
Apart from these alcoholic beverages, the juice of all sorts of fruit is popular and all sorts, and all kinds of mixtures. The generic term is sampüsh. Most of these can be mixed with crushed ice for the wealthy, or cool water for the poor.
Extremely sweet syrups are made too, which are drunk mixed with cool water or even the smaller kinds of beer described above. It is considered to be bad form to mix lemonade with wine, but that fact alone shows that it is done.
Except for infants suckling at their mothers breast, no milk is drunk in the south of Chariazi. Milk is made into all sorts of cheeses, curds, yoghurts, sauces and butters, but drinking raw milk is considered to be impossible. Further to the north, there are minority peoples who drink the milk from goats, cows and pigs.
Tea is known, as is chocolate (made with cocoa and water), but coffee is not. Both real tea and herbal teas are popular, and there exist many different varieties of tea and recipes for preparing the brew. Cocoa reappeared in the sixteenth century, and was immediately recognized as the pesam chennam, or black wine from the southern legends. It is prepared with water, sugar and yeast and left to ferment for a few days, and then served hot.
1Here is a recipe for bread beer to try.
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