The drinking traditions of different cultures is fascinating and Japanese sake is one of the most unique beverages on the planet. I enjoy drinking it so much that it inspired the creation of a fantastical drink that fits into the world of The Frontier, a horror western universe inhabited by monsters and gunslingers.
Tinek is the spirtual drink of the kamuni and you can learn more about it here.
If there’s one thing on The Frontier that has the potential to unite all cultures it’s alcohol. From whisky to beer, there are all kinds of beverages drunk in the saloons, bordellos, villages and towns of the world and another important drink to be aware of is tinek.
What is tinek?
Tinek is a type of clear to foamy white fermented rice wine that comes from the kamuni home of Suwanichi. It’s made from a mixture of rice, water, wild yeasts and jiok, a fungus that’s native to Suwanichi and that’s also used in the making of several kamuni delicacies.
How is tinek produced?
The production method of tinek is a complex process that highlights the skills of kamuni brewers. It begins with rice being harvested and then the outer layers being milled away to get to the starchy core.
Next, the rice is soaked and washed and then inoculated with the jiok fungus. This helps to kickstart the process of converting the rice starch to sugar and that will eventually become alcohol.
From there, the jiok, rice and water mixture is placed into a wooden bucket in a controlled environment to create a starter mash. Naturally occurring lactic acid and wild yeasts are left to propagate for a period of two weeks and then the mixture is transferred into a special pit for the main mash.
The mash is left to ferment for anywhere between two weeks to a month and then the liquid tinek is separated from solid matter using a specialised pressing tool. Once this step is completed, tinek can be drunk straight and usually has flavours that range from acidic to sweet.
What is the significance of tinek in kamuni culture?
Tinek is an integral drink in kamuni culture, as it helps the tribes to feel connected to their ancestors and the daiku. Large amounts of tinek are common at gatherings and parties and a popular story among the kamuni is that once you drink enough tinek, you’ll have unlocked the door to the realm of the gods.
Each tribe has their own unique take on tinek production and may use their own steps to producing a brew with distinct flavours.
There is something of a friendly rivalry between the brewers of different tribes and occasionally they may carry out exchanges to share techniques.
How does tinek compare with other alcohol?
Compared to beer, tinek usually has a higher ABV and a lower ABV than spirits like whisky and rum. To the frontiersmen, tinek has a mixed reaction and is generally seen as being a drink of savages.
However, there are some frontiersmen who are interested in building more awareness about tinek and learning the secret brewing techniques of the kamuni.
Find out more about the world of The Frontier and the kamuni in AT THE DEAD OF DUSK. Buy the novella today!