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Sunday, 31 July 2011



Humans must have discovered, in a series of happy accidents, the pleasant side-effects of drinking the fermented juice of grape or grain. The discovery of late Stone Age beer jugs has established that intentionally fermented beverages existed at least as early as the Neolithic period (about 10,000BC).

The earliest evidence of alcohol in China emerged 9,000 years ago when they made it by fermenting rice, honey and fruit. They were wary of its effects and there were frequent attempts to ban alcohol. (41 times between 1100BC and 1400AD).

Workers on the Egyptian pyramids around 4,500 years ago had three drink breaks each day, with five types of beer and four varieties of wine available.

The Islamic alchemist Jabir ibn Hayyan developed the process of distilling to produce alcoholic spirits using fermented fruit juice in the early 9th century. He did this by means of the recently invented still, a tool used to distill mixable liquids by heating and then cooling.

The method of distilling alcohol used by Arabs had reached Europe by the middle of the twelfth century as a result of various European authors translating and popularizing the discoveries of Islamic alchemists.

Despite being banned by the Koran, wine and spirits were drunk by many in Islamic countries during the Middle Ages.

There were at least seven types of alcoholic beverages in the Americas before European contact. One of them was made from pineapple, and another was made from the honey of a domesticated stingless bee.

The Tudors drank an average of a gallon of alcohol a day.

The word “alcohol” comes from the Arab word “al-kohl” meaning  "a powdered ingredient". When it first appeared in English in the 1540s “alcohol” was a fine powder produced by grinding. Its meaning changed from powders produced by distillation to the liquids produced by distillation.

For chemists, the term “alcohol” covers a wide range. The alcohol in drinks is ethyl alcohol.

Alcohol proof is a measure of how much alcohol (ethanol) is contained in an alcoholic beverage. The term originated in the 16th century, when payments to British sailors included rations of rum. To ensure that the rum had not been watered down, it was "proved" by dousing gunpowder with it and then testing to see if the gunpowder would ignite. If it did not, then the rum contained too much water and was considered to be "under proof."

Peter the Great of Russia had the lover of one of his mistresses beheaded and his head preserved in alcohol and kept by his bedside.

The first health warning to appear on a bottle of alcohol was in 1751.

By 1830, the annual per capita consumption of alcohol by Americans had climbed to more than five gallons. At the time Americans believed liquor was nutritious and stimulated digestion. It was also consumed to help wash down poorly cooked, greasy, salty, and sometimes rancid food.

In the 1830s, a typical American took a healthful dram for breakfast, whiskey was a typical lunchtime tipple, ale accompanied supper and the day ended with a nightcap.

Vin Mariani was a 19th century alcoholic drink that also contained cocaine. Thomas Edison, Ulysses S. Grant and Queen Victoria, all indulged in it, as well as two popes, one of whom appeared on a poster endorsing the beverage.

Prohibition, in the form of the 18th amendment, outlawed the sale of alcohol in the United States between 1919-1933.

Scientists in Germany developed the first drinkable alcohol-free beer in 1932.

In 1943 a New Zealander, Morton W Coutts,  developed a new quicker technique of fermentation, which was the first major change to brewing for four hundred years. His continuous fermentation process reduced the four-month long brewing process to less than 24 hours.

The 45-foot long V2 rocket carried enough alcohol to make 66,130 dry martinis.

In the US the National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 resulted in the minimum age in which alcohol can be publicly consumed being raised to 21.

The US government approved the sale of powdered alcohol beginning the summer of 2015.


Statistics in 2004 revealed that the average British man drinks 17 units of alcohol a week, and the average woman 7.5. Because of the wide availability of soft drinks and fruit juices compared to 150 years ago the average Briton currently consumes considerably less alcohol than he did in Victorian times. However the British are drinking considerably more than they did in the decade after the Second World War.

30% of Americans don't drink alcohol at all, 60% drink less than 1 drink a week. The top 10% drink ~74 drinks a week.

Eighteen cities and seven counties in Indiana have local ordinances banning the sale of alcohol on election day.

The sentence “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs,” includes all the letters of the alphabet.

One unit of alcohol is the amount the body can process in an hour.

A pint of beer, a glass of wine, and a shot of vodka all contain almost the same amount of alcohol.

It only takes six minutes for brain cells to react to alcohol.

You may think it makes you hotter but alcohol actually lowers the body temperature.

Recent studies have shown that while excessive intake of alcohol kills off brain cells, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first.

People with lighter eye colors (green, blue, hazel or any light color) have a higher alcohol tolerance than those with darker color eyes.

You'd have to boil a typical can of beer for 30 minutes to make it nonalcoholic.

36% of Asians have Alcohol Flush Reaction. They are more probable to get cancer from drinking alcohol as well as it causing more minor symptoms as nausea, headache and discomfort.

Auto-brewery syndrome is a disease where carbohydrates are converted to alcohol in a person's digestive system, setting them drunk whenever they consume carbs.

Alcohol feels like its burning when applied to wounds It doesn't physically burn you, but you feel the sensation because the chemical activates the same nerve receptors in your skin that let you know boiling water or a flame are hot.

Alcohol breath is not from the stomach, rather it's from the ethanol diffusing out of the blood in the lungs. 

Alcohol is not exclusively a terrestrial matter. Astronomers found out there is a lot alcohol in space as well.

The animal that drinks the most alcohol is the Malaysian pen-tailed tree-shrew. They spend several hours per night consuming the equivalent of 10 to 12 glasses of wine drinking naturally fermented nectar of the bertam palm.

In 1995, scientists found a huge cloud 288 billion miles wide, in space near the constellation Aquila. There is enough alcohol in it to make 400 trillion trillion pints of beer.

Around the globe, Russians are amongst the heaviest drinkers, with the average adult consuming over twice the recommended amount every day. As a result, 500,000 of them die each year of alcohol-related diseases.

Home-brewed liquor, or moonshine, accounts for almost 30% of the world's alcohol drinking.

Methylated spirits, which is sold in hardware stores for use as a solvent and as fuel for alcohol burners and camping stoves isn't chemically different from drinking alcohol. The only difference is it's purposely laced with poison and nausea inducing additives so you can't drink it. This compromises allows it to be sold without alcohol tax and ensures people don't use it as a beverage. .

Here's some songs about alcohol

Sources Metro Newspaper, Daily ExpressBritain In Numbers: The Essential Statistics by Simon Briscoe

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