The First Beverage, Beer.
One of the earliest concoctions in mankind was beer. Like many great revelations, beer was discovered by mistake. Beer is made from letting cereal grains malt in water until sweet, then letting them sit until tingly. It is believed that this technique was recognized by farmers who unintentionally allowed water in their grains storage. While this drink is taken for granted in our modern times, it was a life changing discovery for the nomadic groups that roamed North East Africa. Many of these nomads started to shift from hunting and gathering food to farming their own grains. Beer is largely credited for this shift in history because of its unique ability to be made from grains, and farmers had plenty of grains. The small tribes that once roamed the land became stationary. This promoted some of the first ever towns and villages. These villages consisted of small round huts which each had grain storages and were surrounded by farms. Tribes would come and stay in already settled towns for the added safety and access to water. This system of settling is what led to some of the most advanced civilizations of its time, Egypt and Mesopotamia. This flourishing urban areas thrived on beer and bread, this is also all they had. Beer is liquid bread and bread is solid beer. These cities would eventually develop a government area surrounded by miles of farms. These farms were given water by irrigation systems fed by vital rivers. Every worker in these systems was paid in beer, bread, and cattle. Infact, one of the earliest forms of currency is clay coins that represented one of these three important payments. Beer became so popular that it was encouraged for mothers to send their child to school with plenty of beer every morning. Beer was so important to these ancient societies that the dead were often buried with lots of beer so that their souls could be happy in the afterlife.
Wine is one of the oldest forms of alcohol. It is not known when the first wine was made, but it is potentially older than the discovery of beer. The birthplace of wine is in Zagros mountains where grapevines supplied the wineries and grains supplied the town. Wine quickly spread the the eastern Mediterranean. It was a highly valued beverage because of its rarity and remote origin. Wine was often used for social or religious reasons such as parties, feast, or offerings. Wine in Greece was viewed as a status of wealth and value. The huge popularity of wine at the time was widely believed to be caused by Homer’s “Odyssey”. In the story, the hero, odysseus’ king room was described of having riches such as gold, bronze, oil, and wine. The greeks interest in the drink is more than likely due to the mass following of the book. The Greeks heavily diluted wine by water before dranken. This was a social norm that caught on after some would go mad after having too much wine. The greeks believed that only Dionysus could drink pure wine. Greeks had a strong belief in their many gods power. When it came to rome, wine was a everyday necessity. Wine was drank not only by the wealthy, but the peasants too. The only thing separating the economic groups was the quality and age of the wine. The older or more exotic wines were only drank by important persons. This change in drink choice by the poor was due to more modern and better located wineries that provided cheap wine to the lower class.
Spirits were originally made by distilling wine in the city of Cordoba. The distilled drink was very intoxicating and almost instantly became a favorite for many countries. There was soon many variations of the drink around the world. One particular variation was discovered on the island of barbados (found in the caribbean sea) were a variation of spirits called “rum” came from. Rum is made with the waste of sugar cane. Rum was very easy to make and could be sold at a high price. This led to colonies being settled to grow sugar cane and other valuable textiles. Europeans would buy slaves from their tribe to grow sugar cane. The leftover harvested sugar cane would be made into rum to buy more slave. It was this loop of buying and growing that lead to many slaves being brought to the new world. As time went on, the number of slaves grew exponentially. Spirits had a very high tariff in the colonies and was what financed most of the British empire for a while. Without these high taxes the British navy would not have been the best in the world. England passed the Molasses act in 1733 which minimized the amount of sugar imported to the colonies. The act angered the colonist because less sugar means less rum. This act ironically led to more sugar being imported by rebellious colonist. In Fact, this is greatly credited as one of the main reasons for the English colonies to resist English rule despite many believing it was the tax placed on tea. Spirits were also at the time a form of medicine. Because of their high alcohol concentration, spirits were extraordinary at cleaning wounds which could get infected. Eventually spirits were replaced by whiskey. Whiskey was so commonly drank that it wasn’t seen as a social status, just a drink.
Coffee came from the arabs. It started as a religious drink, but soon became a social. To the Arabs, it was a replacement for alcohol. The drink became popular in Europe due to trades during the seventeenth century. It became so popular because of its great taste and ability to increase people’s awareness. The drink was big change from the usually intoxicating drink trends of the past. Coffee houses started to become more and more popular. Not only did they provide a place to get fresh coffee, but they became meeting place for trades and sailors and musicians looking for work.