by Lillian Csernica on April 5, 2016
In my many travels I have encountered a variety of drinks. Here are a few of the more entertaining beverages, notable for both their flavors and the stories that go with them.
Apple jack or Apfeljack — During my visit to the Netherlands, my host sisters and I would spend Thursday nights at the disco in the next city. The cover charge included a two drink minimum. In late June the Netherlands can still feel like November in California, so my preferred drink would be apple jack. I strongly suspect the drinks were watered, which was probably a good thing. One night somebody told me a particular guy wanted to dance with me. Turns out he was a big, gorgeous Dutch soldier who had just turned 18. Andre and I enjoyed more than one dance. I tell you, apple jack makes for excellent antifreeze when you’re running to catch the last train home!
Bottled water — These days you see people carrying spiffy personalized water bottles all the time. When I was in Paris, this was a strange sight. I chalked it up to one more thing the Europeans did differently than people from the U.S. When it comes to “sparkling water,” that does make a good alternative to soda if you like the fizz and don’t want the sugar. As I continue to battle my Coca-Cola addiction, sparkling water is my friend!
Dragon’s Breath — There are so many recipes and so many individual variations that I can only point you to Google. Back in the days when I was working at the Renaissance Faire, before I got married, I had a close encounter of the personal kind with a homemade liqueur named Dragon’s Breath. In those days I worked for a jeweler. Our booth was set up right next to the legendary Cardiff Rose, the fencing booth designed to look like a privateer vessel. One day a
pirate privateer came calling with a jug of Dragon’s Breath. I knew the fellow by sight as one of our Faire neighbors, so I felt fairly safe in taking a swig of the brew in the ceramic jug. Oh my stars and garters! Imagine mulled wine with a good dose of brandy. Before my shock could fade, said privateer grabbed me and kissed me. Ever chewed a peppermint or cinnamon candy then inhaled really fast? The kiss felt a whole lot like that!
Melon soda — I first encountered this divine beverage at the Toei Kyoto Studio Park. It came with the meal I ordered at one of the park’s restaurants. Not overly sweet, similar to honeydew melon, and even better when made into a float with vanilla ice cream. Bonus: the melon soda came in a souvenir mug shaped like the hanging paper lanterns that decorated the Park. The Park’s name and logo are written on the side in kanji.
Seattle microbrews — My latest trip to Seattle for Norwescon 39 featured a pumpkin beer party that also furthered my acquaintance with a few more of the spectacular microbrews of the city known mainly for coffee. I regret not writing down the names of each beer. One tasted of coffee and hazelnuts, much to my delight. Another had plenty of ginger. A strong, bitter brew left me thirsty for plain water. I’m just happy nobody took photos of me there. The dress code required me to borrow a helmet made from half a pumpkin with some horns stuck into it!