Exalted: Non-Alcoholic Beverages in Creation

Image provided by the Penn Provenance ProjectRight now I’m pretty busy with another Exalted 3e assignment, but I haven’t posted anything since Wednesday. So let’s get back to that “Beverages in Creation” thing that I promised a sequel to a while back!

Milk: People have been drinking milk for millennia. Aside from cows, dairy animals include such creatures as sheep, goats, water buffalo, donkeys, horses, camels, yaks, reindeer, and even moose. I assume that, as on Earth, some of Creation’s peoples are lactose-intolerant, but even lactose-intolerant people can more easily digest milk if they regularly eat live yogurt, which definitely exists in the setting. In that vein, fermented milk beverages with little to no alcohol, such as ayran, doogh, kefir, and lassi, have long pedigrees and doubtless exist in Creation, especially in parallel Southern cultures where milk spoils quickly in the heat of the day. Buttermilk and whey, as byproducts of other dairy processes, would also be common wherever butter and cheese are made. And in medieval England, boiled milk was even added to ale or wine to make a curdled drink called a posset. (This would have gone into the “Alcoholic Beverages in Creation” post if I’d thought of it at the time.)

Fruit drinks: I’ve found little information on historical use of fruit juices as a beverage. Grape juice was turned into wine, apple juice into cider, and so forth. The wealthy throughout Creation doubtless have access to luxurious fruit drinks like the classic iced Persian sherbet, but beyond that, crushing fruit to drink unfermented juice would seem to be something of an extravagance, as the juice spoils quickly and extracting it wastes the rest of the fruit. Exceptions include coconut water, which would be consumed seasonally in Western and Southwestern coconut-growing regions, and citrus-based drinks such as lemonade. Beverages made from cooking down fruit, such as blåbärssoppa or hwachae, also seem viable, though my limited research doesn’t indicate whether such beverages have long histories.

Utamaro_Naniwaya_OkitaTea: Common in tropical and subtropical regions, an infusion made with the dried leaves of the tea plant has long been drunk as a stimulant in eastern and southern Asia. Various cultivars and styles of tea are likewise common in Creation’s cultures that share the appropriate cultures and climates: the Southwest, the Southeast, and the southern shores of the Blessed Isle. Any number of other herbal teas, from coca leaf to ginseng to rose hip to yerba mate, can also be found throughout Creation.

Coffee: The history of coffee drinking only goes back to the 14th century, but it’s sufficiently iconic for later medieval Islamic societies that we’ll make allowances. It’s doubtless consumed in appropriate locales such as Chiaroscuro or Jiara, and is made by boiling ground coffee beans in water like modern Turkish coffee. An interesting note regarding the origins of coffee cultivation: As with Chinese silkworms, Yemeni coffee beans were originally a carefully guarded resource. Exported beans were heat-sterilized so they couldn’t grow. Eventually a Sufi monk smuggled a handful of fertile beans to India, from whence coffee cultivation spread across the world. Guild merchants may well have a monopoly on coffee production and shipping in Creation—one which an enterprising PC merchant could seek to break.

Cacao: Drinks made from the cacao bean should have appeared in the previous post, as it seems that early Mesoamerican cacao drinks were fermented. Preparations varied—the Mayans served it hot and frothy, mixed with chile peppers and maize flour, while the Aztec elite drank it cold with chile, spices, and honey. Cacao beans, which were prized as currency, traveled long distances through the trade networks of the Americas. The Pueblo peoples, over a thousand miles away, appear to have consumed chocolate as well. In Creation, it’s most likely drunk in far Eastern societies such as Ixcoatli.

Grain water: There’s a long tradition of boiling cereals to produce a drink rather than a solid food. Examples include Korean sikhye and sungnyung (rice), ancient Greek kykeon (barley), Andean chichi morada (maize), etc. Even soy milk, which seems like a modern invention, can be traced back close to two thousand years. Such beverages doubtless exist throughout Creation.

Vinegar drinks: Posca, consumed by the Roman army and the poor, was a mixture of vinegar and water. I’d only expect to see it as a byproduct of the viticulture industry in places that produce so much wine that some of it would regularly go sour; the southern Blessed Isle probably best fits the bill. Persian sekanjabin seems a bit more upscale.

Iced drinks: Ice has been used to cool drinks for millennia. Common folk in the North can store ice through the summer. Elsewhere in Creation, storing snow and ice from the winter or carting it down from mountaintops is a matter for the wealthy and powerful.



  1. I wonder if anyone has invented iced tea yet?

    Also, given the kind of things they got up to in the First Age, producing strange and wonderful plants and animals, have you given any thought to the more fantastic beverages of Creation? If so, care to share? Or should we wait for the 3e book to drop first?

    1. I’d be surprised if the wealthy in some corner of Creation didn’t have a local iced drink that involved tea, though I doubt it would resemble modern iced tea, which is a relatively recent invention. The earliest recorded iced tea recipes from just a couple of centuries ago look completely different, being alcoholic green tea punches.


      I haven’t given much thought to fantastical beverages, given that the history of real beverages is full of all sorts of interesting things that are largely forgotten today, but which we can imagine or even sample if the occasion arises. Still, I’m sure you’ll see some fantastical beverages in print at some point during the line.

  2. >crushing fruit to drink unfermented juice would seem to be something of an extravagance, as the juice spoils quickly and extracting it wastes the rest of the fruit.

    It’s not entirely a waste, since you can use apple pomace can be used to produce lectin that can be used for the medicinal reasons and the production of jams and fruit preserves, and grape pomace can apparently act as a food preservative, according to Wikipedia.

    >Beverages made from cooking down fruit, such as blåbärssoppa or hwachae, also seem viable, though my limited research doesn’t indicate whether such beverages have long histories.

    Jams have existed for hundreds and hundreds of years (Google says they were introduced to Europe by the Crusaders), and from the sounds of things, these are pretty much just jams that haven’t been boiled until they’ve had enough water evaporate to turn into jelly. It doesn’t take a genius to look at the boiling fruit concoction when you’re making a jam, and go “I wonder how that’d taste if you drank it?” 😛

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