HISTORY OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
The production of alcoholic beverages is common to many cultures and often reflects the cultural and religious specificities, as well as their geographical and sociological characteristics.
The discoveries of mugs of beer in the late stone age are indications that fermented beverages existed at least 10,000 years before Christ. The discovery of Persian mugs of wines in Iran, from 5,000 years before Christ, also attest to the drinking of fermented beverages in the middle stone age.
The ancient Egyptians believed that the very honoured God Osiris invented a beer as a necessity of life. Egyptians brewed domestic beer on the day to day basis. Alcoholic beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, medicine, rituals, payment and for funerary purposes. This latter is illustrated by the storage of beverages in the vaulted tombs of the deceased, for use it in their life after death.
The oldest evidence of the existence of alcohol in China is jars of wine from 7,000 years before Christ, where they fermented rice, honey and fruit. Alcohol was taken as a spiritual food rather than a physical food and it played an important role in their religious life. They drank alcohol on various occasions: commemorative ceremonies, sacrifices to the gods or their ancestors, the celebration of victories, ceremonies of birth, death and marriages ... At the time of the Marco Polo (1254-1324), it also represented one of the major sources of income.
Alcoholic beverages appeared in India 3,000-2,000 years before Christ. Sura, a beverage distilled from rice, wheat, sugar cane, grapes and other fruits, was popular among the Kshatriy soldiers and the farmer population.
Beer was the main drink among the Babylonians at 2,700 BC. The Babylonians regularly used beer and wine as gifts to the gods.
Despite the Greek’s art of producing wine, the original extended fermented alcoholic beverage among the Greeks 2,000 years before Christ was made from honey and water or Mead. Around 1,700 years before Christ, drinking wine became more common among the Greek population and for the next thousand years wine had the same strong meaning there as elsewhere in the world. Wine represents part of their religious rites; it is used for hospitality purposes and is an integral part of daily meals.
The first clear evidences of distillation come from the Greek Alchemists in Alexandria in the 1st century of our counting; the evidence for the distillation of alcohol also comes from the Italian schools of Salerno in 12th and the 19th century.
The origin of the word "liqueur" is derived from the related word ''fluid'' and the Latin verb ''liquere". According to the Oxford’s English Dictionary, the use of the word ''fluid'' or ''liquere'' in the English language dated from the year 1225. The word ''liquor for drinking'' first appeared in the 14th and 19th centuries. Its use as a term for "intoxicating alcoholic beverage" first appears in the 16th and 19th centuries.