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Two posts in one day, for which I offer a thousand apologies. This one is brought to you by the spontaneous happy hour [ profile] zopyrus and I had this evening, which, as it so often does, led to talk of Boozy Elves. Usually this takes the turn of coming up with ridiculous headcanons about our faves in relation to individual tastes/preferences (We postulated that Finrod, for instance, is not a fan of beer the first time he tries it, but all of his mortal friends really love it so he enthusiastically convinces himself that he loves it after all, and probably later supported all the breweries in Nargothrond), but then it got me thinking about Elves at large.

I don't know at what point this notion wedged itself into my head that Elves primarily prefer wine and hard liquors such as miruvor (I suppose because of all the talk of Dorwinion? And I feel like I rarely read fic of Elves drinking ale?), but it did. But the more I've thought about it I realized that's probably an unfair assumption to make, and slightly hypocritical? given my distaste for the strictly-vegetarian meals we see consumed in PJ's Hobbit film. The Elves are a diverse bunch, and general consumption of wine v. ale probably depends on region/crops grown/etc. So now i am off on a tangent thinking about which groups of Elves preferred which. I'm imagining Lorien was probably more wine-country compared to Rivendell, which at the least probably got ale from the surrounding lands of Eriador?

Also, do you think they developed cocktails?? What kinds?? Cocktails are a pretty recent invention, otoh, immortality gives them time to come up with such things...

I am assuming this has been a topic that has been discussed in other corners of the fandom prior to my coming back aboard, but I do not know where to look, and am curious! 

on 2014-03-20 04:00 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I can more easily imagine Elves drinking cocktails to ale for some unknown reason.

on 2014-03-20 05:47 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I think it depends on which Elves! I can definitely see the Elves who live near the shire partaking in ale, definitely...

on 2014-03-20 08:07 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I don't know about other corners of fandom, but it has been discussed:
- in my head, thoroughly. (There is plenty of reference to booze in my stories, and I have thought about what it might be. I see the Elves as having all sorts of fruit-based hard-liquor, which can be delicious and is efficient to carry. Vodka and other starch-based beverages are a bit boring, but I bet some of Yavanna's handmaidens have had a go at making something amazing out of the sacred corn. For wine, see below. And I guess I imagine beer as existing, but don't consider it in much detail, since none of my characters have ever reached for one, iirc. I really like your Finrod headcanon, though.)
- in my LJ, pretentiously. (I seem to have developed a small headcanon of Glorfindel having a strong interest in booze production. It's the sort of thing a nice, generous person would do, especially if he were asked to help manage horticulture for his people -- which he is, in my ficverse. So, I think he grows hops and grapes both, and one day I started wondering about the *type* of grapes, and the wine they led to. I see Vinyamar as Mediterranean in climate, and hilly, so I was thinking Chianti or even Piedmont... so vines like Nebbiolo and Sangiovese, which can give both cheap drinkable plonk and really amazing deep wines. And Gondolin would be colder and steeper, more like bits of Switzerland or South Germany. So nice whites, probably, but reds more along the lines of Blauburgunder, which I find bleh even when expensive. Anyway, I actually threatened to do a wine region map of all M-e, but never did.)

Cocktails were (I believe) invented to make cheap booze palatable. But one could also think of them as a way of getting tasty drinks while on the go -- you can pack your 60% strength liquor* when traveling, and then mix it with whatever you find along the way to give something of a pleasant 15% strength or so. I am sure they did that. But I bet many of their cocktails were rather twee, with "flower essence" and similar as an ingredient.

(* I think the booze in my B2MeM fic is AT LEAST that, for efficiency. So E probably falls asleep soon after that scene ends.)

on 2014-03-20 08:10 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
OMG you know what would be fun? To do a list of "typical" drinks for various times and regions. Then we can all sit around drinking fic-appropriate booze when in need of inspiration.

What sort of beer were the three friends in your fic drinking? Ale? Lager?
Edited on 2014-03-20 05:10 pm (UTC)

on 2014-03-20 06:03 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
OMG YES, I am so on board!! That would be an *excellent* guide to have on hand.

They were drinking ale...something very reminiscent of Goose Island Honker's Ale, which I have a bit of a hometown weakness for. But I think Chicago fits with the general regional climate of the North Downs (cold as getout in the winter but still warm in the summer).

Another headcanon I have: Elvish wine has a much higher alcohol percentage than what we're used to (more along the lines of the percentages in ancient Greek wine), but they don't water it down. The Dunedain, on the other hand, DO dilute their wine a la the Greeks. (Ignorance of this slight cultural difference leads to poor Ivorwen getting extremely trashed and drunkenly confronting Arwen when she visits Rivendell :D)

on 2014-03-20 08:50 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
But a high alcohol content makes it harder to taste things! How strong did the Greeks make it? (I confess I always imagined it was normal-ish, and kind of like beer when diluted.)

Do you want to do a post soliciting booze ideas? (Now I am actually thinking about making up a cocktail of the sort a traveling Elf might manage with basic ingredients. Even for B2MeM, perhaps. I mean, we have had dresses and brooches...)

on 2014-03-21 12:30 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Hmm, Google has yielded nothing, so I'm only running off of a three-year-old memory of a Classics class my final year of undergrad where the professor went off on a tangent about Greek wine...but if that memory is correct, she said that it ran around 25-30% alcohol content? And that they kept it undiluted in some cases, but because they used it primarily for drinking-in-moderation purposes it was often diluted.

And I shall go ahead and make that post! I might put it on Tumblr as well...communication on stuff like this is terrible on that site, but there are some folks I know who aren't on LJ who might have some ideas. And I highly support making that cocktail! B2MeM has some prompts soliciting recipes, and there are indeed dresses and brooches... :D

on 2014-03-21 01:14 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Aaand posted :D

on 2014-03-20 05:56 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I bet some of Yavanna's handmaidens have had a go at making something amazing out of the sacred corn.


Zopyrus deserves most of the credit for the Finrod headcanon, but I've definitely run with it in the Finrod-and-Andreth-have-a-party fic I will (hopefully maybe one day) lift off the drawing board. I loooove your Glorfindel headcanon, and am very much on board with the proposed types of the different regions.

Yes, I was thinking along similar lines in terms of cocktails--I once had the misfortune of mixing elderflower cordial with whiskey (DO NOT RECOMMEND), but that sort of has stayed in my head as a potential cocktail addition. I also imagine the Dunedain as being into hot toddys in the wintertime.

on 2014-03-20 11:55 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
My apologies for the drive-by comment (must get ready to journey to the Biotech Battlement) but...

Oh, yes. I have given this plenty of thought. Briefly, in the Pandë!verse, the Elves of Eregion have arbors thriving in microclimates of their country, and their most popular wine is something called serce valaron, which translates to "blood of the Valar," a reference to the sangiovese (Blood of Jupiter) of our primary world. In their extensive cultural exchanges with the Dwarves of Casarrondo (Moria), the Firstborn acquire a taste for good red ale and stouts, and refine their brewing techniques as a result.

My distiller/brewmaster of Rivendell (a former refugee of Ost-in-Edhil) favors apple brandy, making use of the orchards there, and brews ale, likely as a result of perfecting the method from his Dwarven pals. :^)

My duty as an orc-scribe calls...

on 2014-03-20 06:04 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Yesss, I approve of all of this :D. Especially the apple brandy!!!

on 2014-03-20 12:09 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I'm only half awake, but since I've had my head in Bree these last few however-long-months-years-whatev... I can see the Elves that live near the Shire partaking in ales. And I have a feeling Cirdan, living where he does in a major port that all races use, has probably tried just about everything in his long years of life.

Drinks detail doesn't loom very large in my fics, probably because I'm not much of a drinker and I don't know how to fit Kahlua into M-e...

on 2014-03-20 06:07 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
And I have a feeling Cirdan, living where he does in a major port that all races use, has probably tried just about everything in his long years of life.

I laughed out loud when I read this on the train this morning, omg--so true!!! There needs to be more fic about Cirdan...

I think the Elves near the Shire definitely partook in ales, and I imagine they had strong exchanges of beverages of all kinds with the Dunedain (you'll note I had Dirhael squirreling away some miruvor, lolol). And hmmmm, now I AM thinking about how we could get Kahlua into we know if there's coffee in middle-earth somewhere?? There has to be, right??

on 2014-03-20 06:42 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
do we know if there's coffee in middle-earth somewhere?? There has to be, right??

I bet we could figure out a way. *g* You can always slip something into M-e via Harad or Khan, under the heading "King Elessar Arranges For All Goodies He Discovered In His Journeys Where the Stars Are Strange to Be Imported Into Gondor".

Including coffee. And chocolate.

on 2014-03-21 12:22 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
That could work! I've also been using Numenor and Valinor as methods of getting things in...the way I see it, you can pretty much import whatever you want from a) magical atlantis-style island and b) the realm of the gods :D

on 2014-03-21 10:28 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Someone in my long series has a feeling that the cacoa bean might be found somewhere in Valinor... she is just waiting.

on 2014-03-20 01:27 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
'My' version of the elves of Mirkwood/Eryn Lasgalen, and then of Eryn Ithil, drink quite a lot of wine - but much of it not grape based at all - I reckonanything made by Cairn O'Mohr is also available to them! (And having sampled all of those, I would be a happy elf under those circumstances.)

Cider and Perry, too - and I mean proper, alcoholic cider, as understood by the world outside the USA.

I don't see them being big grain growers so I don't see them as ale drinkers.

I can see the everyday Galadhrim drinking much the same, again because it would be wine based on their own crops. Although they may grow grapes as well - Galadriel being able to control their micro-climate!

I think the Dorwinion is prized by Thranduil because it is an imported grape wine - and being very happy to also import brandy.

They probably produce a very good apple based spirit, too.

on 2014-03-20 06:15 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Yes to the cider!! And I agree that the Galadhrim could probably make pretty much anything they desired, but would be partial to wine. And I love the idea of the apple-based spirits. It feels very fitting, somehow!

on 2014-03-20 08:52 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Just because it is amusing: the Hobbit seems to imply that Thraduil prizes the Dorwinion because it is extra strong. Which... yeah. He has a difficult, lonely job.

on 2014-03-21 10:25 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Well that too, of course...hic!

on 2014-03-20 05:15 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I feel like this is an appropriate moment to link to the Silmarillion Drink Collection tag on tumblr:

But I couldn't find the post where you set your Feanorian drink on fire....

on 2014-03-20 06:08 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]

on 2014-03-20 08:54 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oh WOW. Very useful!

on 2014-03-23 01:38 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oh, I missed this great discussion! I do make some small, partial effort to determine if wine, ale, hard alcohol could be made fairly easily by the elves in question before having them drinking it. I tend toward the position that the methods for making alcoholic drinks might be more advanced than real world equivalents at various points in real world history. Wine was pretty primitive in Classical Greece, but when I imagine wine in the Golden Age of Valinor it is a more refined variety, for example. A people who could create the Silmarils should not have to drink murky wine or rot-gut distilled alcohol.

Those methods of wine-making would have come to Beleriand with the 90 percent of the Noldor who emigrated. Hence good wine. And where there is wine, there is brandy. Distilled spirits are would probably be the same. But one of my personally created fanons is that Celegorm and the odd brother or two have been know to try to produce distilled alcoholic beverages at a young age and the result is infamous--laughably bad. Ale and beer are pretty easy to make relatively well. I've know a number of people who have tried successfully. So, I figure almost anyone in any of the Elven realms could experiment with that. Mead also.

Edited on 2014-03-23 01:43 am (UTC)


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