Last week, we discussed the amazing foods that one might find in the Forgotten Realms: Fantastic Foods in the Forgotten Realms. And if you’re going to eat, you’re going to want something to drink with it.
Players love spending their downtime at local taverns, finding information and getting themselves drunk on whatever magical concoctions are available to them. Luckily for you as a DM, there are just as many, if not more, interesting drinks to be found in the Forgotten Realms.
Just like with meals, you can safely assume that the drinks common in the Middle Ages would also be common in Dungeons and Dragons. Of course, drinks vary pretty widely from culture to culture, depending upon what was available and safely drinkable. But since the setting most often used in 5e DnD is the Swordcoast of the Forgotten Realms, most comparisons can be made between medieval European drinks.
The most common drinks, above almost anything else, would be mead, beer, and ale. That’s not to say that everyone was drunk – the drinks were significantly less alcoholic than their modern versions. Sometimes, mead was entirely nonalcoholic! Plus, water wasn’t always safe to drink, and what alcohol these drinks do contain was seen as nutritious and protective against the very real threat of putrefaction. Buttermilk was also a common nonalcoholic alternative, but was usually reserved for children or the elderly. Wealthier individuals might drink wine instead of beer (although commoners did drink it where grapes could be easily cultivated), with sweeter and more potent wines being a tabletop indicator of much wealth.
Spirits and liquor, like whisky or gin, were almost unknown to anyone who wasn’t an alchemist or a doctor. Distillation was ‘forgotten’ art during most of the Middle Ages, and even when used was not done in large enough quantities to make a full bottle of drink.
Unique Beverages in the Forgotten Realms
Luckily for us, the flavors of Faerun are more impressive than actual medieval drinks.
Here are some of our favorites:
Nonalcoholic Drinks in the Forgotten Realms
A drink of the gods, which tastes of pure joy. While not actually alcoholic, it does act like a drug to mortals, soothing, healing, and comforting all of the aches and sorrows of a mortal life for several hours. Despite its drug-like influence, it is not addictive. If you can’t get yours straight from the 7 Heavens, spell-created is fine.
Also known as hot cocoa, this drink is so wonderful that it’s rumored to be the product of a wish spell for ‘the perfect fireside beverage’. It is made of chocolate, milk, and spices which make it sweet, spicy, and salty all at once.
A strange, naturally occurring carbonated water sold almost exclusively through the small town of Triboar.
More soup than tea, this popular hangover cure is made from various broths and kitchen drippings. While dashes of spirits are sometimes added, it’s never enough to overpower the broth and make it intoxicate.
Wines in the Forgotten Realms
Rumor has it that this drow beverage is brewed with spider venom. This isn’t true of course; it’s made with fungi. It’s usually spiced, and sometimes even sparkling, which makes it much more impressive to the surface-dwelling nobles who like to import it.
A deep red wine made from Aglarond’s shriveled grapes. It’s notable that these grapes grow on vines rumored to be possessed by evil ghosts.
Known to its people as Jhuild, is extremely thick and extremely potent, creating a ‘fiery’ sensation in the belly of those who drink it. Part of this sensation comes from the sheer number of spices included in it, but part of it comes from the fact that the grapes are grown in magical soil.
Baatezu Blood Wine
While regular blood wine is only rumored to be dangerous, Baatezu Blood Wine absolutely is. Which is to be expected since it’s actually made in the 9 Hells for its fiendish inhabitants. To mortals, the drink is very poisonous. If you don’t die upon drinking it, you’ll fall violently drunk and even more violently ill.
Ales and Beers in the Forgotten Realms
A light golden ale brewed primarily by halflings, which tastes of strawberries and sunlit meadows. It is highly alcoholic.
Another halfling beer, this one translucent green, which tastes of mint. It is also very alcoholic, but cools the throat and acts as a palate cleanser, making it easy to drink too much.
A very popular ale that, while originally created in Baldur’s Gate, is available widely throughout the Realms. It was a strong taste, enhanced by the use of pimento berries (which seem to be some kind of cinnamon equivalent).
A cheap, watery ale from Waterdeep, which is favored by pirates and bandits. Its primary appeal is the low price point.
Perhaps the most common drink on the Swordcoast, used widely for all manner of drinking, cooking, and preserving. This ale is easy to transport, kept in cheap earthenware jugs, and has a nutty taste which pairs easily with meat and fish dishes of all kinds.
Spirits and Liquor in the Forgotten Realms
A strong, unsubtle drink made from sugar beets by the Moon Mountain Brewery in the Save Frontier. It’s mostly served warm and mixed with ale.
A favored spirit brewed from cactus pulp in the distant land of Mazteca, which is sometimes imported to the rest of the Forgotten Realms. It isn’t as potent as whiskey or rum, but does come with the favor of the god Azul.
An almost alarming potent spirit from the nation of Cormyr, this drink renders its consumer almost immediately insensate, convinced of their strength and invincibility.
A brandy brewed in the Moonshae Isles, distilled from almonds, which gives it its unique nutty flavor.
Do you have any favorite drinks or beverages from the Forgotten Realms? What are they? Have you managed to work them into any of your campaigns? Let us know in the comments below!