Evidence of alcoholic beverages has also been found dating from 5400–5000 BC in Hajji Firuz Tepe in Iran, 3150 BC in ancient Egypt, 3000 BC in Babylon, 2000 BC in pre-Hispanic Mexico and 1500 BC in Sudan. According to Guinness, the earliest firm evidence of wine production dates back to

During the early modern period (1500–1800), Protestant leaders such as Martin Luther, John Calvin, the leaders of the Anglican Church, and even the Puritans did not differ substantially from the teachings of the Catholic Church: alcohol was a gift of God and created to be used in moderation for pleasure, enjoyment and health; drunkenness was viewed as a sin (see Christianity and alcohol).


From this period through at least the beginning of the 18th century, attitudes toward drinking were characterized by a continued recognition of the positive nature of moderate consumption and an increased concern over the negative effects of drunkenness. The latter, which was generally viewed as arising out of the increased self-indulgence of the time, was seen as a threat to spiritual salvation and societal well being. Intoxication was also inconsistent with the emerging emphasis on rational mastery of self and world and on work and efficiency.


In spite of the ideal of moderation, consumption of alcohol was often high. In the 16th century, alcohol beverage consumption reached 100 liters per person per year in Valladolid, Spain, and Polish peasants consumed up to three liters of beer per day. In Coventry, England, the average amount of beer and ale consumed was about 17 pints per person per week, compared to about three pints today; nationwide, consumption was about one pint per day per capita. Swedish beer consumption may have been 40 times higher than in modern Sweden. English sailors received a ration of a gallon of beer per day, while soldiers received two-thirds of a gallon. In Denmark, the usual consumption of beer appears to have been a gallon per day for adult laborers and sailors.[19] It is important to note that modern beer is much stronger than the beers of the past. While current beers are 3–5% alcohol, the beer drunk in the historical past was generally 1% or so.[citation needed] This was known as 'small beer'.


However, the production and distribution of spirits spread slowly. Spirit drinking was still largely for medicinal purposes throughout most of the 16th century. It has been said of distilled alcohol that "the sixteenth century created it; the seventeenth century consolidated it; the eighteenth popularized it."


A beverage that clearly made its debut during the 17th century was sparkling champagne. The credit for that development goes primarily and erroneously to Dom Perignon, the wine-master in a French abbey. Although the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, in 1531,[56] the English scientist and physician Christopher Merret documented the addition of sugar to a finished wine to create a second fermentation six years before Dom Perignon joined the Abbey of Hautvillers and almost 40 years before it was claimed that he invented Champagne. Around 1668, Perignon used strong bottles, invented a more efficient cork (and one that could contain the effervescence in those strong bottles), and began developing the technique of blending the contents. However, another century would pass before problems, especially bursting bottles, would be solved and champagne would become popular.[19]


The original grain spirit, whisky (or whiskey in Hiberno-English) and its specific origins are unknown but the distillation of whisky has been performed in Ireland and Scotland for centuries. The first confirmed written record of whisky comes from 1405 in Ireland, the production of whisky from malted barley is first mentioned in Scotland in an entry from 1494, although both countries could have distilled grain alcohol before this date.

Nevin Kiragu

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