Who Invented Alcohol? Learn the History of this Type of Drink
Alcohol is one of the most common and widely accepted drugs that are legal. No matter where you go or what you’re doing, you’re likely to find alcohol and people who are happy to drink it.
But drinking alcohol has become so normal in our culture that we almost never think about why we do it. For example, we don’t know exactly why we get hangovers after drinking a lot of alcohol, nor do we know what happens in the body when we do. We also don’t fully understand how it became a part of our society, its history, or how to make the most of it.
To answer one of these exciting questions about alcohol, we’ll talk about the history of alcoholic drinks, including where they came from and how they’ve changed over time.
Overripe, even rotten, fruits were the first thing people ate which led to the discovery of alcohol and how it could change how people felt. Yeasts are drawn to it when the fruit has gotten too ripe and is about to go bad. The yeasts feed on the sugar in the fruit and make ethanol, which is the main ingredient in alcoholic drinks (and that remains for a long time in our bodies). Fermentation is the name for this process.
But no one knows for sure when people started drinking alcohol after they figured out how to make it from fruits. One of the earliest records we have, from 7,000 BC in China, is often thought to be the start of these drinks. Some experts on the culture say that there are signs in the vessels from that time that the settlers used them to make alcoholic drinks from rice, fruit, and honey. A few hundred years later, people in different parts of the world fermented their drinks to make them more alcoholic.
For example, in Mesopotamia and Egypt, cereal grains were often used to make beer. This alcoholic drink was available to people from all walks of life, and workers were even given it at the end of the day. They also started making wine from grapes, but because grapes only grew during certain times of the year, it was a more expensive drink that not everyone could get.
On the other hand, wine was very common and easy to get in Rome and Greece, where grapes could be picked much more easily. In South America, alcoholic drinks like chicha were made by distilling grains, like corn, but they had a strange addition: hallucinogenic herbs were sometimes added to the drinks to make them even stronger.
Other cultures that started fermenting drinks to make them alcoholic were those in what is now worldwide, where pulque was made from agave, in East Africa, where beer was made from banana and palm, and in what is now Japan, where sake was made from rice.
Of course, as time went on, drinking alcohol, which was common in the earliest civilizations because of the ways they could get it, started to become a moral problem. Some people thought it was a good way to get into different states of mind or boost creativity, while others thought it was dangerous and hard to stop using. A conversation that is a lot like the one we still have today.
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