Pick your favorite elven cordial

Burned Dwarf

New Member
Even though we have now moved beyond that last mention of miruvor, hopefully it's not too late to look at the description of the three elven cordials described:

Gildor Inglorion - "they found that the Elves had filled their bottles with a clear drink, pale golden in colour: it had the scent of a honey made of many flowers, and was wonderfully refreshing.".and intoxicating!

Glorfindel - "pouring for each in turn a little liquor from his silver-studded flask of leather. It was clear as spring water and had no taste, and it did not feel either cool or warm in the mouth; but strength and vigour seemed to flow into all their limbs as they drank it. Eaten after that draught the stale bread and dried fruit (which was now all that they had left) seemed to satisfy their hunger better than many a good breakfast in the Shire had done.". Non-intoxicating.

Miruvor - "‘Just a mouthful each – for all of us. It is very precious. It is miruvor, the cordial of Imladris. Elrond gave it to me at our parting. Pass it round!’ As soon as Frodo had swallowed a little of the warm and fragrant liquor he felt a new strength of heart, and the heavy drowsiness left his limbs. The others also revived and found fresh hope and vigour." Non-intoxicating, but warm.

I wonder if any tasted like licorice. I never liked licorice.
 
Ilin - milk
Limfa, Limfelis - drink of the Fairies
Limpë, Gurmir - drink of the Valar,
Mîr, Miros, Gwîn, miru, mirub - wine
Miruvor, mirubhôz, miruvórë, mirofor - drink of the elves, special wine, cordial, honey wine, nectar
Sáva, Pirya, Paich, Saw, Peich, Bith, Vite, Apsa, Sôba, pas, pis, gwas, fiss, molk, hí, pirie, pulqe, vasa, - juice, nectar
Nîdh - juice, honeycomb
Suithlas - tea
Yulda, Sûth, Suhto - drink, draught

Sadly we don't have the words for the other elf-drinks. Limpë and Miruvor are likely the same. They don't have a word for Beer or Mead. Only Wine, nectar, juice and milk - but interestingly Tea!
 
Surprising we never got words for liquor or spirit.

In Irish, whiskey or moonshine is uisce beatha (pronounced something like 'iska baha'), which means the water of life. Evocative and probably translatable into several of Tolkien's languages - but not khuzdul, which might have been most appropriate. :(
 
The one that Gildor had that smells like honey is likely mead. There are lots of variations on mead, so we have to deduce something from the traits described - clear, not cloudy, very strong, refreshing, pale golden color.

Beer yeast typically can get you up to 12% alcohol with fermentation alone. Champagne yeast can get you closer to 15%. And then there are steps you can take after fermentation to increase the strength of the drink. One way to get the drink stronger is to freeze it and remove the ice crystals (water), like they do when making ice wine. Ice wine tends to taste a bit like mead or sherry to begin with, so that might not be a bad direction. One can also then distill the mead to make an even stronger liquor/liqueur.

Ethioipian tej is typically 7-11% alcohol, so perhaps strong enough, but typically cloudy, not clear.
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There is apparently a Finnish mead called sima, but I don't know anything about that and have not tried it. It is apparently very low in alcohol content.
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Lithuanian Midus is another variation on mead, called a metheglin, which simply means that herbs and spices are in the mix. This particular one has 12% alcohol content.

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Here's an example where distillation was used to increase the alcohol content to 29%:

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The one that Gildor had that smells like honey is likely mead. There are lots of variations on mead, so we have to deduce something from the traits described - clear, not cloudy, very strong, refreshing, pale golden color.
depending on the hue of the original honey one can get quite pale meads:



 
If he associated mead with elves i find it strange JRRT didn't coin a word for it. But maybe Gildors drink was "Nîdh", honeycomb-juice. A bit thick to drink it, plus the hobbits would have known the taste, if elven-bees and their plants aren't somehow special. Personally i find mead quite disgusting. I'm usually not a honey type of person.
 
If he associated mead with elves i find it strange JRRT didn't coin a word for it. But maybe Gildors drink was "Nîdh", honeycomb-juice. A bit thick to drink it, plus the hobbits would have known the taste, if elven-bees and their plants aren't somehow special. Personally i find mead quite disgusting. I'm usually not a honey type of person.
Well, for me a fine quality mead is - next too good Irish or French cider - one of the few kinds of alcohol that I really enjoy. But I am no fan of bitterness.
 
Meads can be dry or sweet, flavored with herbs, berries, cider, hops, or wine. There is enough variety there that they aren't all the same. It could be a mead, a melomel, a cyser, tej, a metheglin, etc...
 
Ilin - milk
Limfa, Limfelis - drink of the Fairies
Limpë, Gurmir - drink of the Valar,
Mîr, Miros, Gwîn, miru, mirub - wine
Miruvor, mirubhôz, miruvórë, mirofor - drink of the elves, special wine, cordial, honey wine, nectar
Sáva, Pirya, Paich, Saw, Peich, Bith, Vite, Apsa, Sôba, pas, pis, gwas, fiss, molk, hí, pirie, pulqe, vasa, - juice, nectar
Nîdh - juice, honeycomb
Suithlas - tea
Yulda, Sûth, Suhto - drink, draught

Sadly we don't have the words for the other elf-drinks. Limpë and Miruvor are likely the same. They don't have a word for Beer or Mead. Only Wine, nectar, juice and milk - but interestingly Tea!

Hi Haerangil,

In Galadriel's song, as the company leaves Lothlorien, her word, "lisse-miruvoreva", is translated as "white mead".

I don't think this is quite on your list of elvish words for drinks? What does that 'eva' ending on 'miruvor' signify? Do you think that 'white mead' is a certain type of elven drink? A poetic description of all mead? Galadriel associates drinking it in "halls beyond the West". Is it a special drink in Valinor, or is it the same as some of the drinks elves make in Middle-earth?
 
What does that 'eva' ending on 'miruvor' signify?

"-va

Q. from
-va possessive ending, presumably related to the preposition va "from". In Eldaliéva, Ingoldova, miruvóreva, Oroméva, rómeva, Valinóreva (q.v. for references), Follondiéva, Hyallondiéva (see under turmen for references). Following a consonant, the ending instead appears as -wa (andamacilwa "of the long sword", PE17:147, rómenwa *"of the East", PE17:59). Pl. -vë when governing a plural word (from archaic -vai) (WJ:407), but it seems that -va was used throughout in late Exilic Quenya (cf. miruvóreva governing the plural word yuldar in Namárië). Pl. -iva (-ivë*), dual -twa, partitive pl. -líva**.
[Quettaparma Quenyallo] Group: Quettaparma Quenyallo. Published 11 years ago by Ardalambion (Helge Fauskanger).
"
 
Hi MithLuin,

Thanks to you and Odola for the erudite answers. Next question:

What does the hyphenated "lisse-" mean? Does it just mean 'white'? In which case, how do you think 'white-mead' might differ from any other Elvish cordials? Also, why the hyphon?
 
"lissë" means sweet, not white. "lossë" means snow white, but that is not the word used here. Where do you find the translation "white mead," out of curiosity?

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The translations are from the prose version of Namárië in LotR, and from Tolkien's more translinear translation in The Road Goes Ever On
 
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Hi MithLuin,

The Quenya version and the prose translation in my edition of TLOTR (UK 12th impression 1962) are both different from the examples in your post above.

The quenya version does not have the superscription over the e in 'lisse', and it has a hyphen between 'lisse' and 'miruvoreva' (accent over the o in miruvoreva - I don't know how to add those things).

The prose translation is: "The years have passed like sweet swift draughts of the white mead in halls beyond the West...."
 
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