At first, I was a bit uneasy about inviting these aristocrat-hating Dwarf craftsmen, but when I first met with Ronim-san, the representative of the Sincere Dwarf, he was more calm than I had expected, and I wondered if he did not hate aristocrats as much as I had heard rumors, but when other craftsmen saw me, they gave me obvious disdainful looks. It became clear that Ronim-san was the exception, not the norm.
After that, I decided to stay in the laboratory all day long instead of the mansion where I was working, so as to stay out of sight of the Sincere Dwarf as much as possible.
Fortunately, my father granted me permission to brew alcohol, albeit with some restrictions.
Thus, with Mei by my side, we immersed ourselves in the art of alcohol-making, utilizing two techniques: distillation, which involves extracting scents from raw materials using a still, and infusion, which involves soaking raw materials in alcohol without distilling them, as typically done in Japanese households when making plum wine.
The reason why I chose the two methods is because the distillation method involves heat, which can destroy or alter the aroma of some ingredients, and the infusion method, which takes more time, is used to prevent the loss of aroma when using such ingredients.
So, as we start to make alcohol, we first use the distillation method to add the aroma of spices to the medicinal alcohol, while using the infusion method, we leave several jars filled with sake and fruits in the corner of the laboratory.
The process itself is very simple, and the first liqueur is completed without any difficulty.
Since Mei is not very good at drinking, I took a sip of the liqueur to try it out, but it did not seem to have any depth to it.
Since one spice was not enough, we decided to mix several spices to add depth to the taste and aroma, but since neither of us had any experience in mixing spices, this was a very difficult task for both of us.
But with Narsht-san's help, we came up with several mixed spices and distilled them together with medicinal alcohol to check the taste, but we could not come up with anything satisfactory.
The mixed spices that I thought were good when I prepared them were completely changed by the addition of the taste and aroma of the distilled liquor.
Against our initial expectations, the brewing process was difficult, and after a lot of spices, a lot of time, and dozens of mixes, we were only able to make one that we were satisfied with.
But the hard work was more than worth the pleasure for both of us, and even Mei, who was not so good at drinking, wanted to try the liqueur, but then I realized a problem.
I wondered how to mix this liqueur.
You might think that simply mixing it with water would work, but that's not the case.
In this world, the water that is normally consumed as a beverage is created by magic. Unlike natural water, magic water does not contain impurities, making it safe to drink without worrying about water quality. However, since it lacks the mineral and other ingredients that contribute to the taste of water, it is completely tasteless and odorless, and frankly, not very delicious to drink.
It is obvious mixing liqueur with such water would not make it more drinkable, but would rather impair the taste of the liqueur.
If that is the case, using natural water to mix the liqueur would be a good idea, but if you don't care about the taste, then magic water is sufficient as a beverage, and natural water that is delicious to drink is treated as a luxury item in this world, comparable to high-end wine in price, and only nobles can afford it.
However, since this liqueur has a high alcohol content, it's difficult to drink straight for anyone who doesn't enjoy the taste of strong alcohol.
I had not expected that I would stumble on something other than the alcohol's quality, and for a while I was at a loss as to what to do.
After much deliberation, I thought about whether the finished liqueur could be used as a cooking alcohol, rather than for drinking.
I thought that Narsht-san would make new delicious dishes by using this liqueur mixed with several spices as a seasoning, and I went to Narsht-san with the finished liqueur.
I also checked the soaking pots that had been left in the corner of the laboratory, and found one type of grape liqueur with a nice color and aroma.
Depending on the ingredients used for infusion, it can take at least two to three weeks, and for longer ones, up to six months, for the taste and aroma to fully develop. However, this grape liqueur had transferred the grape ingredients to the alcohol in just one week, to the extent that the transparent medicinal alcohol had turned a dark purple color.
I didn't know if this was a result of the laws of this world, which was different from my previous world, or simply a result of the combination of the ingredients, the medicinal wine and the grapes, but I decided to take the two liqueurs to the restaurant where Narsht-san was.
As I headed towards the restaurant, I found that it was just dinner time, and there were many "Sincere Dwarf" craftmans gathered there, and Narsht-san was in the middle of some kind of conversation with them.
I watched the situation from the back entrance for a while, but there was no sign of the end of the conversation, so I called Narsht-san by his name.
As I expected, I was stared at by the Sincere Dwarf who noticed my presence, but no one took the trouble to pick a fight with me, and I was able to give Narsht-san two kinds of liqueurs without incident.
However, either because I didn't explain myself clearly or Narsht-san misunderstood, he took the two types of liquor back to the honest and sincere dwarf people, saying "since these will eventually be served to customers, let's hear their opinions too."
I was worried at first because the drinks were too strong to drink straight, but the dwarves, as I should say, were enjoying the taste of the drinks without any problem.
In the end, my worries were unfounded, and the two liqueurs were successfully accepted by the Sincere Dwarf people, and were added to the new menu of the restaurant.
However, even if new liqueurs are developed, the number of people who can drink them is still limited, so my immediate goal is to develop liqueurs that are easy to drink even without mixing them, or to develop a liquid to mix the liqueurs with instead of natural water.
Two weeks after the arrival of the Sincere Dwarf, I received a message that the construction of the mansion was completed.
Upon receiving the news and to deliver the payment, I headed towards the reception room, where I met Ronim-san, the representative of the sincere dwarf folk, as well as another dwarf named Larnan-san.
I had remembered this person among the dwarves who were staring at me, and I handed the payment to Ronim-san and the others with a sense of trepidation. While they were counting the coins, I was chanting in my heart for them to hurry up and finish. Once Ronim-san confirmed that there were no discrepancies between the contract and the actual payment, they carelessly stuffed the coins into their sack.
However, they stopped halfway through and pushed the tray, which still had some payment left, back towards me.
After listening to their explanation, it seemed that receiving payment beyond the agreed amount for their work went against their principles, and they strongly emphasized that they could not accept it.
Just as I was about to temporarily excuse myself to consider modifying the reward amount stated in the contract if the additional request resulted in a change, Larnan-san, who had been quiet up until now, stopped me and asked if they could take on the additional request.
Diana and I were both surprised by this proposal.
As we knew that the Sincere Dwarves were reluctant to accept work from the nobles, and we had expected that they would return to the city as soon as they had completed the minimum work stipulated in the contract.
Therefore, I did not bring up the topic of additional requests and only discussed the minimum requirements, but I never dreamed that they would ask me if they could accept additional work.
Especially one that they would accept at a fair price and supply the materials themselves, which was a complete change from the first contract we signed.
I had heard that they were very fond of the cuisine and alcohol in the frontier, but I could not imagine why they would be so accommodating to a noble who they despised. Perhaps there were other factors at play, but I could not guess. Nonetheless, given that it was not a bad deal for us and finding new contractors for work in the settlement was challenging, we decided to renew our contract with the Sincere Dwarves.
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