Sunday, November 21, 2021

History of alcoholic beverages

The drinking of alcoholic beverages is as old as human history, and the serving of drinks for profit is as old as the concept of profit itself. Many archaeologists believe that wines made from grapes have existed for more than 10,000 years and that drinks such as mead and beer have existed for even longer

Perhaps 8,000 to 10,000 years ago someone discovered that when fruit (or grain, milk, or rice) was fermented, the results tasted good, made one happy—or both. It was soon followed by deliberate production of wines and beers from sugary and starchy plants.

Primitive alcoholic beverages served as foods, medicines, and euphoriants, in religious symbolism and social facilitation. The Bible mentions wine consumption in both the Old and the New Testaments.

Earliest firm evidence of wine production: 5,400 BC in Iran. Medicinal use of alcohol mentioned in Sumerian and Egyptian texts about 2,100 BC.

Early peoples all over the world fermented anything that would ferment: honey, grapes, grains, dates, rice, sugarcane, milk, palms, peppers, berries, sesame seeds, pomegranates. Almost all of the world’s wines (the ones made from grapes, that is) can be traced to a single Eurasian grape species, Vitus vinifera.

With agriculture came regular and larger supplies of the raw materials required for fermentation and distilling. The Sumerian was the first civilization (around 4000 B.C.) to form around a fixed agricultural lifestyle.

The availability of grapes, dates, cereals and many other fruit kinds beside honey in the areas of ancient Egypt, ancient Greek, and other Mediterranean nations made the drinks available to all levels of the nations.

There is evidence of an early alcoholic drink in China around 7000 B.C. In India, an alcoholic beverage called sura, distilled from rice, was in use between 3000 and 2000 B.C.

The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Chinese were all tending their vines at about the same time. It is believed that the ancient Greeks got their viticulture knowledge from the Egyptians, and began to make wine about 2,000 B.C.

The Babylonian King Hammourabi’s law of code, which goes back to 1700 BC, gave the evidence of wine use and sale, in which he put the rules for selling the wine.

The practice of aging wines was first discovered by the Greeks, in cylinders known as amphorae. Made of clay, they were remarkably airtight. Fifteen hundred years later, the Romans tried a similar method, but their clay was more porous and didn’t work as well. So they began coating their clay vessels with tar on the insides, a process known as pitching.

Plato in the fifth century BC made the first efforts to address the effect of alcohol on the health of human being. He had recommended forbade the alcohol for whom less that 18 years and moderately allowed to whom less than 30 and no restriction for those above 40 years of age.

As the Roman Empire spread it brought grapes to Northern Europe, too. After the fall of the Roman Empire, the Catholic Church was the most prominent promoter of viticulture. Monasteries became the vanguards of wine production and knowledge because wine was needed both in everyday life and in sacramental activities. The Portuguese are credited with shipping the first corked bottles of wine to England, but not until the year 1780.

Alcohol consumption continued to grow, and by the Middle Ages many monasteries made beer to nourish their monks and to sell to the people. Later, the emphasis shifted from family tradition to organized production, and home breweries were called inns, taverns, and public houses.

In the sixteenth century, alcohol (called “spirits”) was used largely for medicinal purposes. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the British parliament passed a law encouraging the use of grain for distilling spirits.
History of alcoholic beverages

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