What I'm Reading
Dungeon Crawler Carl
So I'm a big fan of the Stormlight Archive, a fantasy series by Brandon Sanderson.
I also really like alcohol, of almost any type. Love low-proof beers, to high alcohol liquors.
So, I've been thinking about Vorin Wines a lot. The wines in the series that aren't true wines per-se (though one of them is fermented from fruit), but rather are many different types of beverages loosely translated as "wine", colored in order of alcoholic content; with the lightest being pink, and the booziest being violet, all the way around the rainbow.
I feel like I should make these, starting with wild guesses as to what I should put in them, based off tasting notes in the books, and incrementally refine them over time, to the point where they actually taste good. Could be fun. And I've already bought some food colorings off amazon to get started. I'll try and not use these whenever possible, but something tells me it'll probably make my life easier.
So I'll start with some preliminary thoughts on each.
Each wine will have a notes which'll contain general/tasting notes from the books, or from author commentary, which I'll follow up with what I think it should be.
Alcohol is a guesstimate/aim for what I want the drink to be.
Notes: Floral. Aids awareness. Implied to have no alcohol.
Obviously, this should be some form of tea. I do drink a decent amount of all kinds of teas; but what immediately sprang to mind was white tea. The white teas I've had have generally had a sharp, almost sour flavour to them (in a not unpleasant way). I think this would be totally fine, with a hint of food coloring. White tea is true tea, so it'd have that noted caffeine spike.
Notes: Fruity with notes of ginger. Crystalline. Sweet. Low-Proof.
This should probably be some form of Lillet. I've never actually had Lillet, but I want to. And this is a perfect oportunity. So, I'm thinking Lillet, heated, watered down, with sugar added, and orange juice added, with a ginger tincture added, along with some simple syrup. Maybe one or two other spices as well to make things a bit more interesting. Allspice, and cinammon pair well with ginger, so maybe hints of those as well. I'll have to do some experiments.
Notes: Bold and deep without guilt. Weak alcohol content. Good for the morning. Good for pre-duelling.
We don't have much to go on here. There's not much description in the books. Historically, I know that weak ale was taken by hard labourers, back in the day. I think some form of ale would go well here. I'm of two minds about carbonation. I don't think vorin wines are carbonated, so ideally I'd want something that'd taste good, even if uncarbonated. Cider's an option here; even though cider is indepndently mentioned. The more I think about it, the more I think a dry cider could do well here. It'd be yellow already, so food coloring wouldn't an issue here, and it is served still.
I think an attenutated cider would make sense here. Ciders normally hit around at least 7%, so I'd probably have to cut it in half with something.
Apple juice? That could work, but I'm worried that would up the sweetness too much. This is supposed to be a near pre-workout-type drink. I know sports drinks are generally sweet, but something doesn't sit right about making it sweet like the orange. I'll have to come back to this.
Notes: Spicy taste with an earthy aroma. Made from fermented fruit, similar to grape wine.
This one's definitely more concrete. It sounds like a mulled wine. So, I think probably a mulled red wine. That was easy. Earthiness can be achived by perhaps cutting the red wine with some sort of herbal tea, or by adding some heavier spices than normal, perhaps anise? Apparently that is a classic in red wine, so yeah. Let's do that. I'll probably also bring the wine to a full boil to reduce some of the alcohol content down to the 7% range.
Notes: Flavourful, with a pleasant burn.
This one sounds like a liquer, or a fortified wine. Sounds like a port. Unfortunately, there's not much to go on here, so I think port it shall be, unless I can get a better idea. Ideally I'd like to make the alcohols as diverse as possible, and reusing red wine here again feels like cheating a little bit. Another option would be to infuse raspberries or other red fruit or something into a neutral spirit like vodka, and strain them out, making some sort of raspberry liquer.
This may be the way to go, actually. It'd be more interesting for sure, and would enable a bit more tweaking. Perhaps a strawberry/raspberry blend, with a hint of added sugar, but not too much. That sounds right.
Notes: Nutty taste, with hints of honey. Made from fermented grain, closest to Scardrian whiskey. I think, crystalline.
A nutty taste. Hrm. Well, the obvious thing to do here is just to take a non-peaty whiskey and color it blue and call it a day. In order to reinforce the nuttiness though, perhaps tincture of hazelnut or something. Now that I think about it, that could be quite interesting. I could go for that.
Notes: Complex notes of berry and lemon. Strong. Imported from Sel.
I think probably the way to go here is to go with a high proof netural spirit with complexity (some sort of high proof gin). similar to the red, but use blueberries, and add in some citrus peels, and some juice to cut the percentage back down to 40%, and to differentiate it form the red even further.
Notes: Spiced sandalwood aroma. Most flavourful of all.
I don't think Sanderson knows what he's talking about with this one. You don't generally get more flavourful as you up the ethanol content. Tends to be less.
That said, some really good liquors can be pretty tasty even at high percentages. I'm hesitant to use something expensive on an experiment, and I loathe sandalwood. Apparenlty, also ingesting sandalwood has limited safety data. It's probably OK, but I think I'll probably swap this one out. I'll have to do some research to find something suitably similar to sandalwood and sub it in.
Either way, this is probably going to be an unattenuated storebought spirit, with a spice overtone. Spice makes me think rum; so perhaps something like this.
Notes: This isn't in the color wheel, but is mentioned. Burning wine, no sweetness at all.
This just sounds like a netural spirit. High proof vodka makes sense to me.
I'm thinking I can have this wrapped up by summer; maybe doing one a week. I also have brewing equipment, so I could potentially make these, and sterilize the low proof ones, then cap them to have them on hand. I'd have to really like them, though. Pink probably would be better warm, though tea is sometimes drunk cold, I suppose; but it's probably better to hold off on capping that one. The rest could definitely be pre-made.
So, I think next week, I'll experiment with some white teas.