The Svaq "sober-drink" (often colloquially termed "Soobrish") has a large number of fans among sailors. It is made by Daran gnomes, the gnomes living among humans - in this case mainly in and around Ciosa. Sailors drink it after a night on shore, when they get drunk in local taverns and are supposed to do work the next day. When swallowed by drunk people, Svaq makes people nearly completely sober again. Itís easy enough to tell apart from ale just by looking at it, as it is known by its rather brownish colour. Svaq is not available everywhere, though the main ingredient basiloc can be found all over central Santharia, however, the gnomes don't trade this special drink with everyone.
|Image description. Two bowls of Bitsy-Soobrish, the perfect was to sober up again. Picture by Seeker.|
Description. Svaq or Soobrish is dark brown in colour like the bark from a black oak tree, which is also an ingredient for this drink. This drink has a specific flavour that suggests ale with a bitter aroma that could make your eyes watery, but it doesn't make you drunk, quite to the contrary. Svaq leaves a sweet savor in your mouth and a warmth in your throat. There are two different popular kinds of Svaq, however:
The name that was given to this drink comes from the first Daran gnomes as an insult for their relatives the Gnorians, the independent gnomes of Santharia. Gnorsaq has a rather bitter taste (and has that bitter aroma too, but a stronger smell than its counterpart) but it does restore energy and strength needed for a hard day's work in a big town or on the farm. It differs from Svaq by its creamy colour and it is also much thicker and viscous than normal Svaq. It is eophran brown in colour.
This is the normal kind of Svaq. It has a tarty, bitter taste that sobers you in a moment's time. In most cases, the brewers add some redberry leaves and berries for a sweeter, fruitier taste. The colloquial term "Bitsy-Soobrish" used by Ciosan sailors by the way seems to be a combination of the demand for a "bit(sy) of Soobrish" (to mark a difference to the stronger, creamy Soobrish) and also seems to represent a reference to its bitter taste.
Svaq makes the person who drinks it sober, or at least - to be precise - much
more sober then he or she was before. The sober effect is
not instant; it will usually work after a few minutes and the drinker knows it
is working when he feels burning in his stomach. It shouldn't be kept secret
that some smart innkeepers even try to pour some water
in your mug of Svaq to make you want another one, but it is not hard to
distinguish true Svaq from that which has been mixed with
water (if you're a notorious drinker that is). Only the most clever traders
can put enough water in a mug to not lighten it in
colour. Otherwise, if you drink watery Svaq, the
sobering effect will be strongly diminished or not happen at all.
Also you have to limit your use of Svaq to three or four mugs a week, because too much of it can make you weak and you should not drink Svaq with an alcoholic drink as it can make you feel dizzy. If you drink six mugs of Svaq during a week you will feel weak but if you drink ten mugs or more your belly will start to swell and feel hot to the touch, resulting in what the healers call "Soobrache". This extremely unpleasant illness will tie the person to the bed, make it nearly impossible to eat anything decent and further alcohol at this time might even be deadly. The illness will last for several weeks until the person slowly regains normal health - if you're a sailor and are struck with Soobrache, you can be assured that the rest of your voyage on sea you will have to do the lowest chores that a captain can think of. There are even some known cases when sailors "got rid" of a colleague, who first escaped work by falling sick with Soobrache and then failed to regain health in time, so that people thought that the guy was simulating and "disposed" him quietly... Soobrache is also a common cause for death of notorious drinkers, who attempt to start drinking too early after haven fallen ill, and thus die a death in agony through a dangerous reaction inside the patient's body.
Method of Production. The main ingredient for Svaq is asin basiloc, which is smashed with a specially crafted hammer. The head of the traditional hammer used for this is quite large and made of oak wood, sometimes the handle is even one ped in length with the smashing part being up to half a ped, featuring a grid carved on it. The handle is usually made of black iron. With Gnorsaq you must add more asin basiloc (5 leaves) than to traditional Svaq (2 leaves). Also, with Gnorsaq you have to gather the basiloc leaves later in the year, but not too late because it can be too bitter to add to the drink. However, basiloc of course isn't the only ingredient needed to produce Svaq, there is also a piece of bark from black oak, some clean water, a tot of ormelin, and various special secret substances only the gnomes know. These ingredients are for one flask of Svaq. The drink usually brews for a month and then it is poured into flasks where it must stand for a week, only then it is ready to be drunk.
Areas of Production. This drink is produced all over central Santharia. Nolanís traditional gnomish Svaq producing farm is located in the northwest of port town Ciosa and it is the largest facility for making Svaq. It is - at the moment - under management of Nolan XVI., a Daran gnome, who got his farm as an inheritance from his father, and he from his father, and so on.
All of Nolan's employees are gnomes because Nolan doesnít believe that any other races can do great Svaq except for gnomes, and indeed the Nolan products prove to be exceptionally potent in their effects. Those same gnomes that work for Nolan carry out the trasnport at the trade route between Ciosa and New-Santhala. That trade route has a lot of smaller facilities for making Svaq all the way to the Santharian capital. Transport takes place in carts (which also respresent trading stands), they are filled and sold in flasks, sometimes in barrels and sometimes both. Because the drink is relatively cheap, Svaq business isnít the best way to get huge income.
Nolan the XIII. made of his farm a trading post for all kinds of gnomish products to solve this problem. Although it has many other products to sell, Svaq remains Nolanís Farmís most popular exporting product.