What is Cardassian kanar supposed to taste like? Is it sweet or savory? I know there are many different versions of kanar, but what kind of flavor is it supposed to have?
There's nothing in the TV series to indicate what it tastes like but several of the EU novels have a reasonable description: It smells and tastes sweet and alcoholic but with heavy notes of rotten vegetables. To humans it's basically undrinkable.
The best resource on offer is from the novel "A Stitch in Time" by Andrew J. Robinson (the actor who portrayed Elim Garak). Although none of the novels are considered 'canon', the fact that it was authored by one of the original show actors should give it some considerable weight:
Kanar is a valuable if unreliable weapon I employ against this army. The pills the Doctor gives me are a poor substitute. ... The Klingon commotion from the dabo table momentarily distracted me. I took another sip of the bitter-sweet liquid.
There's a description from the perspective of a human taster in "Silent Weapons":
In front of La Forge was a squat tumbler of kanar, a syrupy alcoholic treat from Dygan’s homeworld, Cardassia Prime. The chief engineer picked up the glass and rolled it in a slow circle, testing the viscosity of the fluid within; the kanar moved like industrial lubricant. He took a whiff of it and wrinkled his nose in confusion. Its sweeter notes seemed enticing, but it was laced with a pungent kick that threatened a less than benign drinking experience.
He and Dygan downed their drinks in single pours—then both men doubled over as they sprayed the deck with spit-takes. La Forge gagged and smacked his tongue against the roof of his mouth in a futile bid to rid it of the sickening taste of kanar, and Dygan dropped his glass as he coughed and gasped for air.
and from "Terok Nor : Night of the Wolves"
Damar himself couldn’t stand the syrupy stuff, never having developed a taste for it, though he’d been known to take a glass in good company for diplomacy’s sake.
and from Rise Like Lions :
Her verbosity made Damar smile. “You mean the people will throw us out if we let the Klingons in. Thank you, Councillor, for that remedial lesson in politics.” He picked up a glass from his desk and sipped kanar that was almost as sweet as the look on Gulal’s face was sour. Setting down the glass, he asked Temar, “How does Central Command recommend we stop the Klingons?”
I thought that its flavor depended on how it was brewed.
I have no definite answer for this, but I would suggest that as it's color changes its flavor would change as well. What it's flavor changes to, I would expect that that would be as spontaneous as its color.
Although not stated directly, there were several types of kanar. In TNG: "The Wounded" it appeared to be a light purple, transparent drink served in very small glasses.
In DS9: "The Maquis, Part II" it was seen as the thick, black drink in characteristic bottles seen in many DS9 episodes.
Then, in DS9: "The Wire" it was a blue, opaque drink in a different kind of bottle.
In DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", it appeared differently again, this time it was an orange, opaque liquid, but served in the characteristic kanar bottles. After that, it finally changed back to the black, thick liquid seen for the first time in "The Maquis, Part II".
According to an interview with Casey Biggs (Damar), Karo syrup was used for brown kanar to create the effect of a dark, thick liquid, which he actually drank. Property Master Joe Longo joked in an issue of Star Trek: The Magazine (Issue 4) that "... he was drinking so much he was getting weird, so we started using a thickened sugar-free pancake syrup."
Damar's fondness for the spirit, first observed in "Behind the Lines", was introduced as a way to show an inner turmoil, essentially using it to drown out his conscience and justify an alliance he knows to be wrong – indeed, in "Strange Bedfellows", he looks at himself in the mirror and tosses the drink at his reflection just before helping Worf and Dax escape. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
In "Behind the Lines", Kanar appeared as a much thinner liquid, akin to many Human beverages such as wine or spirits. This is in contrast to "Defiant" where Dukat was shown pouring the drink while being briefed by Sisko and Odo, where it appeared to have a thick, treacle-like consistency. The thinner liquid was of an older, expensive vintage, leading to the conclusion Kanar may thin out as it ages.
The strength of Kanar may also vary greatly. In many episodes we see Cardassians drinking multiple bottles of it like it was wine, while in "Behind the Lines" Quark and Damar are both rendered drunk by sharing a single bottle; considering that they are a bartender and a soldier they're both expected to have great drinking stamina which suggests that this bottle of expensive Kanar had the strength of a hard liquor (which also explains the thinness of it as alcohol has a very low viscosity).
From this quote we can see that Kanar differs greatly from bottle to bottle.
I had assumed from its viscosity that it might be a sap based liqueur gathered in the same way New England farmers tap maple sap to produce syrup, and some form of insect generated food. Perhaps like the byproduct of bees, just as honey is produced from the secretions of insects through regurgitation of plant nectar. Likely in the process of fermentation spices of various kinds would be added to "tweak" the final product. Probably the same way wine acquires the subtle varieties of grapes, soil, temperature, and sun. Mead or honey wine, is an ancient alcoholic drink made from honey, and water through fermentation with yeast.
protected by Community♦ Jan 23 at 3:08
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