Alcohol: A History by Rod Phillips

By Rod Phillips

Even if as wine, beer, or spirits, alcohol has had a relentless and infrequently arguable position in social lifestyles. In his leading edge booklet at the attitudes towards and intake of alcohol, Rod Phillips surveys a 9,000-year cultural and financial background, uncovering the tensions among alcoholic beverages as fit staples of day-by-day diets and as items of social, political, and spiritual nervousness. within the city facilities of Europe and the United States, the place it used to be obvious as more healthy than untreated water, alcohol won a foothold because the drink of selection, however it has been extra regulated by means of governmental and spiritual gurus greater than the other commodity. As a possible resource of social disruption, alcohol created risky barriers of appropriate and unacceptable intake and broke via boundaries of sophistication, race, and gender.

Phillips follows the ever-changing cultural meanings of those effective potables and makes the astounding argument that a few societies have entered "post-alcohol" stages. His is the 1st e-book to envision and clarify the meanings and results of alcohol in such intensity, from international and long term perspectives.

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Although unfermented grape juice and even fresh grapes might leave the same evidence as wine, grape juice would almost certainly have quickly fermented in the warm climatic conditions that prevailed in China and the Middle East, where most of this sort of evidence has been collected. Other evidence of alcoholic beverages that can last for thousands of years includes calcium oxalate (or “beerstone,” which often accumulates in vessels that have been used for brewing); grains of cereals used in brewing (such as rice, barley, millet, and emmer); wax from honey; and tree resin, which was often used to seal the inside of pottery jars and to preserve the alcoholic beverages they held.

1 Any fruit or berry is capable of going through this kind of fermentation, as long as two conditions are satisfied. First, the fruit must have a reasonable sugar level, and one that will attract yeasts. 2 Second, there must be ambient wild yeasts (on the skin of the fruit or in nearby trees and bushes) that can gain access to the sugars in the flesh of the fruit once its skin splits. Various mammals, birds, and butterflies are known to eat decayed and fermented fruit and to experience varying degrees of intoxication.

15 As we can see, two regions in Asia—an area of northeastern China and a relatively small area of western Asia bounded by the Caucasus Mountains, eastern Turkey, eastern Iraq, and northwestern Iran—have surrendered the very earliest signs of alcohol. This is not to say that alcohol was not produced as early in other places, for societies in most parts of the world fermented some of their local resources into alcohol. The Nahua of Central America fermented the juice of a variety of agave, and many African societies fermented the sap of palm trees.

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