Zymurgy is the science of fermentation. I confess I went through the dictionary to find something interesting I could finish on, and this is a new word to me. It’s rather nice though isn’t it? Very useful for Scrabble. Of course, real guinea pigs don’t drink alcohol, or processed drinks, but my Princelings do in moderation, and mostly with meals or on special occasions.
Castle Vexstein is the main centre for brewing, Chateau Dimerie for winemaking in the realms. Both of these will have specialists looking at the fermentation process and getting the best processes for their drinks production. Castle Hattan has its own processes for producing Wozna but I’m not sure that this involves fermentation as this suggests alcohol, and Wozna is non-alcoholic. Mind you, bread requires fermentation if it is to rise, but I think the alcohol in the bread yeast process is quickly converted to other sugars and gas.
Most castles and communities are familiar with the basic fermentation processes need to produce an ale, beer or wine. Other plants as well as hops are mostly used. Dandelion and nettle wines are favourites. Wild hops help many communities produce a flat (i.e. not fizzy) ale that is a popular and refreshing drink and most inns will sell both local brews and Vex. Some of the castles also produce their own wines if they have sufficient space for growing grapes. There is quite a lot of snobbery over wines with Dimerie supposedly being the best, but Buckmore’s wines are very enjoyable, and the Minster and Deeping wines are also well spoken of. Wash does a good trade with the continent, and Rhinish wines are popular in Castles that can afford them. Victor does some wine tasting when he goes there in his story, and sends some back to Fred at Castle Marsh. There is an implication of some smuggling going on too.
I’m not sure where there is distillation going on in the realms, leading to some hard liquor around. I know one of the soldiers had something with more of a kick to it, that gave them a bit of courage before the Battle of Dimerie. It isn’t common, and there isn’t a problem of over-use in this world, fortunately.
Most of the time my heroes drink fruit, herb or vegetable juices, sometimes mixed into cocktails. A favourite refresher is a celery spritzer, made from celery juice and fizzy water. This produces a poor man’s champagne, really, although elderflower champagne is inexpensive but still thought of as a drink for special occasions. Any juice (or wine) can be diluted with fizzy water to make a refreshing spritzer, just as in our world. Ales and beers can also be mixed with juices for a more flavoursome drink.
Strawberry wine or beer was popular in some areas but with the advent of the strawberry juice power plant the produce will become more valuable as a power source. Hugo appears to have developed a sideline in bringing strawberries back through the time tunnel during the period between his own story (book 4) and the closure of the time tunnel in Book 1. As strawberry juice is one of our Princelings’ favourite drinks, the diversion of strawberries from food and drink to power source is a hardship to them. I always wonder whether their strawberry juice is a refreshing juice drink (a pressé) or something a little more fermented!