After basking in the glory, majesty and deleterious effects of Alley’s wines, ales and spirits, I was most anxious and keen to try my hand at the craft. With adult supervisions of course.

While not commonly known, I am descended from a long lineage of ale makers, vintners and topers. My several times great grandfather Dropwort was gifted at the craft and said to be a legend in his own mind. While widely know for his aromatic ales, refreshing lagers and light pilsners, he strode into the realm of infamy and banishment with his pink salmon infused spirit water. As legend has it, the taste was unforgettable. No matter what you did.

While not to be seen as a braggart, I have gained my own success and noterietay with the haunting and distinct taste of my Elemental Guano Stout and the not as commonly known and rather under appreciated, Cinnamon Bark Ale with Wild Boar Extract. Some naysayers claim the latter has a touch too much bite for it’s own good and to be palatable, it needs less “earthy” notes. I have explained many times that “earthy” and “wild” go hand in gauntlet. Further, “gritty” is not a recognized affirmation when describing ales. But, it falls on deaf ears to the uninitiated.

That aside, much has gone according to plan this time around. The first step was to carefully gather the ingredients from reputable vendors rather than those undependable and unsavory types lurking in the swamps selling knock off goods from the back of their rickety carts at cut rate prices.

I then meticulously followed each step Alley had outlined for me. She included a variety of handy illustrations and clearly highlighted points of danger that were most beneficial.

I believe I have made a success of it. Some say the first sign of a fine whiskey is the aroma. That may be true, but equally important is the lack of lumps, so this batch has already proven it’s worth. Further there were no toxic vapors issuing forth to cause me to lose my bearings and topple to the floor.

Creating the spirit was not the only time consuming task. There is far more to the act than merely throwing handfuls of herbs and fruit into a pot and stomping about on the mash with water redirected from the local town fountain.

I toiled for many days to prepare the hand crafted, hand seasoned storage casks that will safely protect my creations and nurture them for months and years to come.

It also came as a revelation that I should harvest wood taken from trees in a pristine forest and pass over those that were ravaged by the blight and home to mild infestations. Certainly the trees topple with far less exertion on my part, but they ultimately infuse the brew with a pungent necrotic foot aroma. This latter outcome goes in the negative column I’m told.

With the casks done and the mash cooked, my brewing is complete! I now have two batches of red wine, two batches of white, four casks of various ales and beers, plus both the young and medium aged whiskey.

However, the pinnacle of my efforts comes in the form of two barrels of the mature whiskey.

Due to the long maturity period and the many moons that will pass before Blake and I can make headway against the nectar of my labor, and to ensure we don’t end up with goblets of dreck that we will be forced to choke down out of principle, I have crafted two of those.

And to make sure I do not fall victim to the villainy of some rapscallion of the realm getting any wise ideas into his head about trying to abscond with my delicate bounty, I have assigned Danish, my guard dog, and Cervantes, my reckless and belligerent manservant to keep out an ever watchful eye.

He may be lackluster with household chores, and holds a grudge against many of my more valuable family heirlooms, but Cervantes is well trained in the art of broomstick combat. Danish is fully trained to dig a discreet hole and dispose of the evidence.

If needs be, they will both be relegated to sleeping outside until full maturity occurs. To take care of their creature comforts, they will each be provided with a blanket and a banana tree.

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More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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