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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ancient Alcoholic Drink (c. 10,000 B.C.E.)

egypt wine imgA pleasurable beverage appears.

The accidental fermentation of a mixture of water and fruit in sunlight is thought to have led to the first discovery of an alcoholic drink by a prehistoric people. Evidence of intentionally fermented beverages exists in the form of Stone Age beer jugs dated as
early as the Neolithic Period ( 10,000 B.C.E ). Other jugs have been excavated in Southwest Asia and North Africa.

Alcoholic beverages have been integral part of many cultures, used as a source of nutrition, in meals, for celebrations, and also in religious ceremonies. Alcohol can give a sense of wellbeing, but also acts as a depressant, lowering behavioral inhibition.

Alcohol consumption became a status symbol for the wealthy, During the Middle Ages, concoctions were distilled to produce
spirits. Alcohol has also served as a thirst quencher when water was polluted. In the 1700s, home-brewing processes were replaced
by commercially made beer and wine, which became important for the economies of Europe.

Beer was the first known alcoholic beverage, but many others have been produced since then. The Chinese are thought to have
produced yellow wine 4,000 years ago. In Europe the monasteries owned the best vineyards; French monks produced a sparkling
wine, which was named after the Champagne region of France. Brandy is supposed to have been accidentally discovered when a
Dutch trader tried boiling wine "to remove the water and save cargo space." ( Brandewijn means "burnt wine" in Dutch.)

Attitude to alcohol consumption have varied over time and different countries have limited the hours when drinking establishments are  open, or even banned the sale of alcohol altogether, as Americans did in the Prohibition, between 1920 and 1933. MF