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History Of Alcohol (Contd.)

It is already established that alcohol has a rather long steady relationship with humankind and that, it still remains to be a popular beverage choice for all reasons and seasons. So, without much further ado and continuing with the trivia of alcohol, let us walk down the paths of history to trace and know more about the origin of different types of alcohol.

Whisky

 According to a study conducted, the history of distillation process is rooted in the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia & Babylon. The available evidence indicates that the distillation process originated in Mesopotamia dating far back as 2000 BC, however, it originally involved perfumes.

Over the years and centuries, this knowledge gradually passed on from Greeks to Arabs to Europe.

It reached Ireland & Scotland around 15th century primarily for medicinal purposes. It gradually found a strong foothold in the Scottish and Irish history and culture, and the earliest Scottish history of the production of whisky dates back to the year 1494. With King James’ fondness for Scotch whisky, its production saw tremendous increase which also led to the monopolization. Through the years, the taste of whisky also evolved. Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland acquired the license in 1608 and is said to be the oldest licensed distillery in the world.

Whisky reached the lands of America around 1600 onwards with the arrival of European mercenaries and colonizers.

In India, the first distillery was built by Edward Dyer of British East India company in the 1820s.

 Vodka

The history of Vodka has for long been debatable and over the centuries many versions of the alcoholic beverage used for initially for the medicinal purposes.

Polish vodka has been used beginning as early as 1405, with the recorded court documents from Palatinate of Sandomierz in Poland and gradually gained popularity. Vodka production in Poland gained momentum towards the end of the 16th century and by the end of the 18th century, it was the beginning of real industrial production wherein it went on to become a mass product.

The methods used in the production of vodka saw various changes over the centuries.

The ‘water of life’ (Voda) or Vodka reached the Russian lands towards the end of the 14th century when the Italian ambassadors presented it to Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy.

As the legend goes, around the year 1430 a monk from Chudov Monastery created a secret recipe of Russian vodka in Moscow Kremlin.

Vodka found its way to the official Russian documents for the first time in 1751.

Tequila

The first production of tequila was in the 16th century in the erstwhile city of Tequila In pre-Columbian Mexico saw the production and consumption of a fermented and distilled alcoholic beverage derived from the agave plant.

The mass production of tequila began around 1600 under Don Pedro Sánchez de Tagle, the Marquis of Altamira and the first factory was established in Jalisco.

Tequila was first reached the American shores around 1884-1885 when it was first exported.

Over the centuries the family-owned tequila brands continued to exist, however with the emergence of multinational corporations in modern times, the production and ownership have extended.

The popularity of these alcoholic beverages has increased over the centuries and so have the methods of production. So, next time you hold a glass of fine wine or take a sip of vodka, take a moment to mull over the fact that these spirits have perhaps been passed on to us from the likes of royal courts and exotic faraway lands!

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The History of Alcohol

Humankind is known to have enjoyed the bliss of drinking booze since time immemorial.

Whether it’s enjoying a chilled beer in summers, savouring the finest scotch on a cold winter night or upping the game with a daring game of tequila shots, alcohol finds a way in our lives for all reasons and seasons.

But do you know how old is your favourite spirit & which part of the world does it come from? By old we mean ‘ancient’, not merely the ‘ageing process’ of alcohol, but when did it originate?

Today, let’s take you through a trivia timeline of the history and origin of alcohol.

Beer

As the ‘wiki’ listing goes, beer is one of the oldest alcoholic drink produced by humans. Its origin can be traced to as far back as the 5th millennium BC in mountain regions of Zargos, Iran. The tests of various pottery jars discovered have strongly suggested that beer production was a part of Iranian culture tracing back to about 7000 years ago.

Beer also finds a place in Mesopotamian and Egyptian history which was duly recorded.

It was also a major alcoholic beverage in the Babylonian era. In fact, according to researchers, beer and wine were two alcoholic beverages which the Babylonians gave as offerings to their deities and gods.

According to the most recent survey, the first and the oldest brewery discovered was in a prehistoric cave in Israel. The oldest beer traces which have been discovered during this survey can be traced to about 13000 years ago!

Wine

The wine has been produced for thousands of years and until about a year ago, the earliest evidence of wine production known to the researchers dated back to about 7000 years ago in Iran. The evidence of 7000 years old fermentation of grape-based fermented wine was traced in China. The scientists also discovered the first winery with its roots in Armenia, dating back to 6100 years BC. With the spread of trade in the subsequent years and centuries, the wine culture also reached the western shores.

It is also interesting to note that the earliest literary references to wine were common around 7th-8th century BC in the compositions of Homer and Alkman.

Bachhus is considered as the god of wine in Roman mythology and Dionysus is his Greek counterpart.

According to the newest studies conducted, the scientists believe that the 8000-year-old fragments of pottery which have been discovered strongly show the earliest evidence of winemaking.

Rum

The historical account of Middle Ages has linked the production of rum to Persia, Cyprus in the Middle East. And later, in a comparatively modern world, rum has found strong roots in the colonial history of America. The origin of rum was traced to the Caribbean, where the plantation slaves discovered the use of molasses in rum-making.

Commercial rum is believed to have originated in the 1630s in Barbados, however, the quality of rum produced there was not considered of fine quality. The increase of colonial impact on the world also witnessed an increased rum production in other parts of the world.

Cont’d.

(Do watch out this space for more trivia on the history of different types of alcohol)

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Walk Your Way to Moderation (Mindful Drinking)

It cannot be emphasized enough that moderation is a key to a blissful life. Be it leading a day-to-day life, each step taken in this direction, whether big or small bears fruits. Thus, bearing the torch of moderation forward, it must be noted that drinking responsibly clearly highlights consuming alcohol in moderation.

So, what’s this hullabaloo about drinking in moderation? First and foremost, let’s be clear on the basics, let us recall that WHO defines moderate drinking or ‘low-risk drinking’ as consumption of alcoholic drinks which are not more than 14 drinks per week for men and not more than 7 drinks for women. The given definition clearly specifies the number of alcoholic beverages consumed on any single day and should not be taken as an average over several days.

Set Your Goals and Be On the Right Track

This one’s a rule of thumb, we say. Planning in advance comes in handy here. Pick a realistic number of days and number of drinks which you can stick to. Also, know the standard drink sizes served which in turn would make it easier for you to keep a tab on the number of drinks consumed, especially with mixed drinks.

Don’t Forget the Food

Mark this one in red, never to drink on an empty stomach. Eating food would lead to slower absorption of alcohol in your body. Speaking of food, eating right is very important. Foods you must stay away from are spicy, salty and fried food as they tend to leave you dehydrated with the risk of upset stomach. And watch the sugary-rush; it isn’t the best combination with your drinks. Keep yourself hydrated with the water of life and go slow on the drinks.

Alternatives Are Helpful Too!

Why not try non-alcoholic beverages for a refreshing change? Or perhaps you can try the ones with lesser alcoholic content. While you’re at it, yet another trick you might want to try is to dilute your drink. Alternating your drinks here stands for alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and not mixing different alcoholic drinks.

When In Doubt, Keep That Glass at Bay

This grey area is a territory you most definitely want to avoid. ‘To be or not to be’, when your mind plays this trick, remember ALWAYS choose the safe route and just let it be! Very often we get carried away and misjudge our capacity to hold a drink and we end up drinking much more than we should. Raise your hand if you’ve fallen into that drunken pit?

Don’t Let the ‘Triggers’ Deceive You, Learn To Say NO

It is important to be mindful of what ‘triggers’ you to drink watch out for it. Are there certain places, people or feelings which compel you to drink? The reasons may be aplenty and you may find it difficult to navigate your way through such circumstances but remember that the ‘golden key’ remains with you. Do not let outside circumstances deter you from your resolution to drink in moderation. Friends, feelings, places-draw a thick line between them your resolution.
If you find yourself in the company of alcoholic bullies who force you to drink, it is advisable that you stick with a firm NO like a strong glue.

Small steps make a big difference, so choose better. Drink in moderation and lead a full life. Once you resolve to choose the middle path- the safe path, stick to it even if the stakes are too high. According to some studies, moderate consumption of alcohol is considered as quite beneficial- it is good for the heart and circulatory system. Think about it, drinking in moderation can actually save you a lot of health troubles besides saving you from a lot of embarrassing
episodes of drunken memories. Didn’t we tell you that moderation bears fruits! It is just as important to make informed choices which is why, the wise people say, ‘cheers and drink it up, but drink wisely’!

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