A type of schnapps, Kefler is one of the most broadly consumed alcohols in Fenren society, if for the simple reason that it deals with one of the biggest practical problems with high-alcohol drinks: the general dulling of perception and “slowing” of the mind suffered by the vast majority of Fenren. While many can (and do) drink alcohol for these exact effects, in social situations it is somewhat less desirable.
Enter Kefler. Made from a base of neutral spirits, the liquid is infused with Kef moss (the raw material for the Fenren tea-analog known as Kef), which provides not just the raw and sharp taste of Kef, but a substantial amount of caffeine and other stimulants. This moderates the natural effects of alcohol and generally helps provide a “smoother” intoxication experience.
With the broad selection of Kef varieties and products, a matching variety of Keflers also exists. Some are made with “used” Kef that is the waste product of commercial bottled Kef production. This provides a smoother kind of Kefler (as the majority of caffeine and stimulants have already leached out), but means that the alcohol hits harder and faster. The low cost however means it is a popular option for Fenren on a budget. On the other hand, hand-harvested Kef is blended with triple-distilled spirits for a “high-end” product. Arguments can be made that it is either a superior drink, or an overpriced blend that’s better as a status symbol than an actual consumable. Other varieties use another alcohol as a base instead of neutral spirits, with a correspondingly different taste. Most regular drinkers don’t consider this proper “Kefler”, though it is often marketed as such.
A while back I did some internal writing about Kef; I needed to have some kind of a drink that functioned as a kind of cultural tea/coffee analog, and the idea of it being part of a moss extract amused me. That it’s also something radically different from how classical tea and coffee is grown was a nice difference. But part and parcel of it as well was that I would, eventually, have to take a look at alcoholic drinks; ideally something more unique than just beers or wines or spirits. Those drinks are virtually primordial in nature, and would be something most cultures would develop as a way to create potable, transportable consumable liquids.
One of the other things I had written was some short notes about Fenren physiology: they’re much more resistant to stimulants both physically and psychologically. This is why one of their more popular recreational drugs is actually an amphetamine analog. But conversely, depressants like alcohol or opium hit them hard. Which means that most alcohol consumed is generally a Kvass-analog (hey, similar name!) that usually is in the 1-2% range. Kefler combines some of the stimulant properties of Kef moss with the more potent depressant effects of a high-strength alcohol, resulting in more tolerable effects to the average Fenren. This combination rapidly made it one of the most popular hard drinks in Fenren culture. The only real danger comes from the mixing of stimulants and depressants; once the body has metabolized the stimulants from the kef moss, the alcohol hits hard. Lightweights and the inexperienced usually have a story or two about their first Kefflereise, or “Keffler trip”, when the alcohol hit hard, and the drinker fell to the floor.
Incidentally, Iceland actually makes this stuff! It’s not the tastiest schnapps apparently, but there you go.