Alcohol, as an intoxicating potable, has been around for millions of years. In fact, some scholars suggest that fermented beverages, perhaps, could have existed as far back as the Neolithic Era (that would be about 10,000 BC).
The Earliest Alcohol
Chemicals tests on residue from ancient jars suggests that fermented drinks of this time—in a neolithic Jiahu village of the Northeastern Chinese region of Henan— could have been made from grapes, hawthorn berries, rice, and honey, perhaps between 7000 and 6650 BC. Oddly—or, perhaps, fittingly—early people in the Middle East began making barley beer and grape wine around the same time in history.
The Introduction of Wine
If you know anything about Jabs Bar alcoholic beverages you may be wondering where wine falls into this timeline; after all, it is the most widely shared drink across many different cultures around the world. Well, wine actually appeared not too long after this, actually: around 6000 BC, in the country of Georgia. Accordingly, the earliest confirmed evidence found demonstrating wine production probably dates back to about 5400 BC. Furthermore, other evidence of alcohol—as a beverage—has been linked to Egypt (3150 BC), Babylon (3000 BC), pre-Hispanic Mexican natives (2000 BC), and Sudan (1500 BC).
Sumerian and Egyptian texts from roughly 2100 BC mention alcohol used as medicine. Similarly, the Hebrew Bible actually makes recommendations for giving alcoholic drinks to those who face depression or even death, as a way to forget one’s misery.
Wine appears on the historic record, again, in Classical Greece, around 1 BC. Both Greeks and Romans consumed wine (though it was often diluted) as part of their diet.
The Beginning of Beer
Beer first emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages. Much lower in alcohol content than wine, beer was consumed by all classes—and ages—of people. At the time, pomace wine and ciders were also popular with grape wine the choice of the upper class.
When the Europeans began exploring the planet they came to find that many native (American) civilizations had also developed their own alcoholic beverages. In South America, natives produced a beer-like drink derived from cassava or maize (corn). Of course, various other countries around the world were developing their own recipes. In 1405, for example, whisky emerged in Ireland (and perhaps also Scotland, around the same time).
By the 16th century, in America, more types of beer from all over the world were making its way across the oceans. Champagne debuted within the next several decades, paralleled by the developed of distilled spirits. Gin was the first, of course, distilled spirit, taking its name from the French for “juniper” which was the flavoring of the liquor at the time.