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Basic Information

A cordial is a drink with one of two basic characters. It is either:

1) A concentrated syrup made from fruit juice, designed for storage and often diluted with water prior to being consumed. The modern version of this is known as squash1.

2) A medicinal syrup, made from decocted herbs - and other ingredients, often including alcohol and sometimes minerals like gold.

Of course, the two categories could and did overlap - a medicinal syrup might well be based on fruit juice (rose hip syrup is still relatively popular in some "traditional cold cures"2) and even a simple fruit syrup with no "actives" in it might well be given, for example, to sooth a sore throat (again with the rose-hips). A strong fruit base might also help to conceal the taste of the actives.

The Roman cooking sauce and condiment defructum, being reduced from grape juice, should probably count as a form of cordial as well, despite not really being a drink.


1. full source reference

Game and Story Use

  • Might be useful travelling supplies for a non-alcohol consuming character.
  • Also, as a base for patent medicines, or pretty much any other concoction - including potions.
  • At any given time, the herbalist is probably making this stuff if there is fruit in season - prior to modern vacuum distillation techniques, it took an awful lot of slow, low temperature distillation to make. If it doesn't end up in medicines, it can be sold retail.
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