Drinking alcohol - a socio economic history of alcohol in the Ancient World, encompassing Prehistoric and Classical Era.

Fructose Speeds up Alcohol Metabolism by 80%

Although whatever you may try, the body can only eliminate a certain amount of alcohol every hour, and there is no quick cure for hangover.

However, recent studies show that fructose can boost alcohol metabolism by an impressive 80%, but the amount of fructose required to get that effect is huge. 100 grams of fructose would mean an average of 7 or 8 apples for you to eat to get rid of hangover.

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Drinking Alcohol began way ahead of any written history


Drinking alcohol or rather consuming fermented fruits and beverages have been part of evolution, historians and anthropologists have noted earlier, and we have written about it in our earlier article Did the homo sapien settle down just to drink beer peacefully? Research indicates the possibility, in this article we take a peek into the pre-historic and classical era history of alcohol and the role it played in civilisations to come.

Although a credible time frame of when alcohol was first fermented could not be found, it can be safely said that it was the result of an accidental consumption. The beer jugs found in Neolithic excavation sites prove that human brewed alcohol dates back to almost 10000B.C.

In fact, historians believe that fermented alcohol may have preceded bread as staple.


Cretan Neolithic Jar - Wikimedia Commons




Chinese Wine Pot - 4th Century BC - Wikimedia Commons


Ancient China and its history of pútáojiu and huangjiu


In China, alcohol has been produced and consumed since prehistoric times. The jars found near China's Yellow river basin, Jiahu, suggest that the existence of alcohol might date back to the period between 7000 and 9000 BC.

Earlier, it used to be a kind of rice beer produced from fermented rice, honey and fruits. Later, when Northern Yellow River Civilisation evolved ,a kind of fermented millet named huangjiu became staple.






Alcohol or to be precise beer was divine elixir for the ancient Chinese


Unlike the Levantine, Middle Eastern and European Civilisations, the Chinese Civilisation abandoned grape wine pretty early, they produced and widely consumed pútáojiu ( rice beer ) and huangjiu ( millet beer ).

In china alcohol was considered medicine prescribed by the heavens. The ancient Chinese considered huangjiu a divine drink and not for mere material pleasure. They consumed it in memorial services,  offered it as a sacrifical elixir to the ancestors and gods, they consumed it before a war, in oaths , in victory  and births, marriages, departures, deaths and literally, the ancient Chinese happily drank away on every occasion it seems, and why not? wine, after all, was a divine providence from the heavens!


Eastern Han Dynasty Pottery




Pictorial Brick Depicting Wine Making in 25-220 CE China


The lucky ancient Chinese were requested to drink by an imperial edict back in 1116 BCE


From the excerpts of an 1116 B.C imperial edict, historians found that the Chinese people were told to consume alcohol in moderation as it was prescribed by Heaven. This order was clearly beneficial to the emperor's treasury.

Alcohol was considered to be the biggest source of income for the treasury. Marcopolo in his 14th century travelogue, had also mentioned that the Chinese people drank rice and grain wine daily and this was the biggest source of income for the kingdom's treasury.

Wine making played a pivotal role in Han economy, wine makers and taverns were the most commonly found businesses across Han Dynasty cities.
In this brick a wine maker and his assistant are seen in the centre, the wine maker is stirring a cauldron while the assistant fans the fire. The bottom of the brick shows a filtering stove with urns for the wine, to the left a wine seller stands with a cart full of wine jars.-

Photo of a pictorial brick excavated at Pengshan, Sichuan Province, depicting wine making circa 20-220 CE, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.






Distillation in the Han Dynasty


It is said that the Chinese may have independently developed the distillation process during the rule of Eastern Han Dynasty, in the early centuries of the Common Era.

The photo of a Lacquered Wooden Wine Cup from the Han Dynasty Circa CE 4 is evidence to that.



Of all the ancient Civilisations, alongside the Chinese Civilsation, the Egyptian Civilisation too, has left behind a vivid history of drinking as part of the culture of the Ancient Egyptian Civilisation. Continue Reading part three of our Drinking through time series.


LAquered Wood Wine Cup from the Han Dynasty Circa CE 4


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  • Any Glass

    When there is no specific glass suggested for a cocktail, it's up to you to chose a glass.
    Either you just go ahead and serve using any glass available to you following these simple rules
    A. Go for Tall or Collins Glasses, Highball Glasses or even Hurricane Glasses for cocktails with loads of non-alcoholic mixes, and those that require crushed or cubed ices,
    B. But if your cocktail is aromatic and liqueur based, and has a complex character that must reach the nose use a wide mouthed Cocktail Glass.
    C. Red Wine Glasses for cocktails that have a Red Wine as the base spirit. Red Wine Glasses have a wider mouth and a long stem, so that the wine can be swirled an aerated to release the aroma while the long stem keeps the fingers away and avoid quick warming of the wine.
    D. White Wine Glasses for cocktails with a White Wine base, since White Wines must not be aerated as much as a Red Wines, since they oxidise fast when in contact with air, White Wine glassware, in contrast to the wide mouthed bowl of a Red Wine Glassware, is narrow with a narrow mouth. A White Wine has much lighter and delicate notes and the narrow mouth and less surface area in contact with air helps retain the aroma.
    E. If your cocktail is based on a Sparkling Wine like Champagne then a Flute Glass is more suitable since a Sparkling Wine is a White Wine with a secondary fermentation that produces the bubbles, and the narrow mouth flute prevents the bubbles from escaping.
    F. If it's winter and you are in the mood for some hot cocktails like the Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy, go for the Irish Coffee Glass, it has a heat resistant glass and a handle.
    G. Martini Glasses for Martinis or "Tinis" in general, but since these glasses have fallen off of favour these days, a Cocktail Glass will be good too.
    H. IF you are serving Margaritas, don't look for Margarita Glass if you don't have one at home, Double Old Fashioned Glass or other glasses are more common these days, for serving Margaritas.
    I. If you are the adventurous one, and are serving shots or shooters, of course the Shot Glass is your choice of glass,
    J. Finally, if you are going all out and serving depth charges and car bomb shots, all you need is a Double Old Fashioned Glass or a Beer Mug for the beer and a shot glass to drop the bomb in.

  • Simple Guide to Cocktail Glassware

    When there is no specific glass suggested for a cocktail, it's up to you to chose a glass.
    Either you just go ahead and serve using any glass available to you following these simple rules
    A. Go for Tall or Collins Glasses, Highball Glasses or even Hurricane Glasses for cocktails with loads of non-alcoholic mixes, and those that require crushed or cubed ices,
    B. But if your cocktail is aromatic and liqueur based, and has a complex character that must reach the nose use a wide mouthed Cocktail Glass.
    C. Red Wine Glasses for cocktails that have a Red Wine as the base spirit. Red Wine Glasses have a wider mouth and a long stem, so that the wine can be swirled an aerated to release the aroma while the long stem keeps the fingers away and avoid quick warming of the wine.
    D. White Wine Glasses for cocktails with a White Wine base, since White Wines must not be aerated as much as a Red Wines, since they oxidise fast when in contact with air, White Wine glassware, in contrast to the wide mouthed bowl of a Red Wine Glassware, is narrow with a narrow mouth. A White Wine has much lighter and delicate notes and the narrow mouth and less surface area in contact with air helps retain the aroma.
    E. If your cocktail is based on a Sparkling Wine like Champagne then a Flute Glass is more suitable since a Sparkling Wine is a White Wine with a secondary fermentation that produces the bubbles, and the narrow mouth flute prevents the bubbles from escaping.
    F. If it's winter and you are in the mood for some hot cocktails like the Irish Coffee or Hot Toddy, go for the Irish Coffee Glass, it has a heat resistant glass and a handle.
    G. Martini Glasses for Martinis or "Tinis" in general, but since these glasses have fallen off of favour these days, a Cocktail Glass will be good too.
    H. IF you are serving Margaritas, don't look for Margarita Glass if you don't have one at home, Double Old Fashioned Glass or other glasses are more common these days, for serving Margaritas.
    I. If you are the adventurous one, and are serving shots or shooters, of course the Shot Glass is your choice of glass,
    J. Finally, if you are going all out and serving depth charges and car bomb shots, all you need is a Double Old Fashioned Glass or a Beer Mug for the beer and a shot glass to drop the bomb in.

Please Note All Recipes and Articles on this site are for entertainment and general information only. None of it is to be considered final or absolutely correct or medical in nature.

All photos used are representative and don't reflect the actual look of a cocktail. Representative Cocktail Photos are watermarked with FreePik logo and are mostly random cocktail images from FreePik.
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