24 August 2016

Hey Barkeep!

I'm Parched!

What is there to drink in your typical quasi-medieval medieval campaign milieu?


Beer: an alcoholic drink made from yeast-fermented malt flavored with hops. Beer and it's variations were popular among the poor and working class.

Ale: a type of beer with a bitter flavor and higher alcoholic content. In medieval times it was produced without hops and would therefore not taste like its modern day namesake.

Bitters: beer that is strongly flavored with hops and has a bitter taste.

Small Beer: a beer or ale with low alchohol content. Similar to what is known in modern terms as a session beer.


Wine: an alcoholic drink made from fermented grape juice. Popular among the aristocary and gentles. Wine was often watered down.

Mulled Wine: is a beverage made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. It is served hot or warm and may be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic. It is a traditional drink during winter, particularly around holidays.


Mead: is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water.

Metheglin: mead blended with herbs.


Distillates: distillation was known but primarily used to produce medicines. Two commonly imbibed distillates were aqua vitae and brandy.

Aqua vitae: translated as the water of life, this is the forerunner of the various forms whisky. This was also popular for fakirs and magicians for use with their trick of fire breathing.

Brandy: distilled wine.


Cider: made from apples and could also be blended with pears.

Claret: red Bordeaux wine.

Hippocras: claret sweetened with honey and flavored with spices.

Malmsey: as hippocras but even sweeter.

Punches: were much prized and also had the distinction of people believing that it helped prevent tooth decay.

Milk: not consumed by adults, being reserved for the poor and elderly. Even then, it was typically buttermilk or whey that was consumed rather than milk as we commonly drink it.

Tea or Coffee: not consumed in Europe before the 16th or 17th centuries, though they were popular in East Asia and the Muslim world.

Water: due to concerns over purity and the belief alcohol was an aid to digestion, water was not a popular choice as a beverage.

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