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Alcohol: A Brief History

close-up photo of liquor bottles in rack

We drink and drink alcohol, but we never thought: when did it even appear? Well, right, what’s the use of it, if now there are more than enough alcoholic beverages.

When did alcohol first appear?

It is hard to say when exactly the alcohol appeared. However, it can be assumed that it is not much younger than humanity itself. The Papuans of New Guinea, who did not know the fire yet, already had their own ways of producing alcohol. Many ancient tribes used it in their many rites: with it, they communicated with the gods and the dead. At a later time, the rite of twinning appeared. The blood of the rite participants was dripped into the bowl of wine and the bowl was let in a circle. Perhaps it was from here that the tradition to gather guests and certainly put a bottle of wine on the table appeared.

The oldest alcoholic drink – beer

With the invention of ceramic (utensils about VIII thousand years BC), it became possible to prepare a variety of alcoholic drinks from honey, grapes, and other fruits. One of the oldest drinks is beer. It is known that it was cooked in Babylon for VII thousand years BC. e. The cuneiform record discovered by archaeologist E. Huber contains recipes for 15 varieties of this drink.

In ancient Greece and Egypt, beer was very popular and was consumed every day along with bread and onions – the main food products of most of the population. In addition, it is very naturally woven into the culture and religion of these people. Many drawings depict people drinking or making beer; gods, and rulers with cups in their hands. In Greece, they even believed in the special god of winemaking – Dionysus. In his honor, festivities (Dionysius) were regularly held, of course, with a huge amount of alcohol. Maybe that’s why Dionysus was one of the most revered gods among the Greeks.

pile of assorted-brand wine bottle lot on shelf

When was pure alcohol created?

Pure alcohol was first obtained by Arabs at the beginning of the 7th century. The word alcohol of Arabic origin, in translation, means “stupefying”. In Western Europe, people learned to make strong alcohol in the Middle Ages by sublimation of wine. Legend has it: the monk alchemist Valentinus first prepared and drank such a drink. Sobering up after a strong alcoholic intoxication, he said that he had discovered a wonderful remedy that makes a young man out of an old man and adds vitality and strength. We can say that it is from this moment that the active distribution of alcohol in other countries begins.

Attitude to drinking at different times and among different people

Despite the fact that alcohol was invariably present in the everyday life of a person, its excessive consumption has always been condemned by society. On a stone slab found in Egypt was the inscription “Do not destroy yourself when you are sitting in the pub, do not lose your mind and do not forget your oaths…”. In Russia, drunkenness was considered a great sin and shame. After Muhammad had imposed a ban on alcohol, it was not produced or consumed in Muslim countries for 12 centuries. Drinking today can be a socially condemned phenomenon.