Sloma is a beverage often consumed by the Banu before they begin the negotiation process for new business deals, or during various social gatherings. Sloma is made up of a base liquid that is then altered by the addition of disparate ingredients brought to the table by everyone involved in the given social situation. After the concoction brews for a few moments, the resulting beverage is called sloma.Known History
Since they were initially encountered, Banu have usually opened negotiations, be they political, business-related, or otherwise, with the creation and consumption of sloma. The first Banu-Human Interstellar Peace and Trade Accord was hashed out over sloma created from ingredients contributed by General Neal Socolovich and a Protectorate Trade Essosouli, among others. Because Banu do not keep historical records, there is no definitive evidence that points to the origin of the practice. The Essosouli present at the first Peace and Trade Accord, when asked about sloma, simply replied that it was how things were done. Human and Xi’an xenoanthropologists believe that the practice likely began before either civilization encountered the Banu.Details of the Practice
Before negotiations begin, either a Banu who is hosting or a Banu who has previously agreed to host will provide the slomaddon, a usually ornately decorated vessel in which sloma is prepared. It will be partially filled with one of a variety of carrier liquids. Once the slomaddon has been opened, each participant of the deal or meeting will add something to it. Spice is one of the more popular additives, as it is light, easy to carry, and can significantly alter the sloma’s flavor. However, anything that is safe to eat or drink is acceptable. This can create unique flavors. Banu can safely consume food that is dangerous for Humans, Xi’an, and Tevarin, so it is a good idea to request that everyone bring ingredients that are respectful of their various dietary limitations. After the sloma has macerated for a few minutes, the host will provide cups, into which they will serve the resulting drink. Everyone is expected to partake.
Methods by which Banu create and consume sloma can vary: some may serve it hot, some may serve it cold, some may ask you to bring a carrier liquid and vessel, some may insist upon drinking directly from the slomaddon, some may not use liquid at all and instead offer to share food. As with the original version, participants are still expected to add something to the dish. While food isn’t technically sloma, it fulfills the same purpose.
Consensus among Banu is that sloma is used to ensure all involved in a contract are entering into it without ill intent. Because everyone, from low-ranking assistants to the most powerful Essosouli, must drink the sloma from the same vessel, so no one can slip poison to anyone else. Especially careful Banu may insist upon randomly mixing cups, in case someone has laced one or more of them with poison instead of the sloma. Some Banu believe that the flavor of the sloma can positively or negatively portend how negotiations will go. Other Banu attach no importance to the flavor whatsoever.