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Alcohol - A Lesson In History

The History of Alcohol

For the last 10,000 years, in one way or another, human beings have utilized fermentation to create alcohol. Whether for medicinal or religious, there’s no denying a connection between civilization and spirits. Today, the world’s most popular types of alcoholic beverages, each with their unique history, can usually be found in ample supply at just about any bar and restaurant, supermarket, and local alcohol store. Now, in Anson County, it even can be delivered to your home when ordering online through DoorXDoor Delivery. The journey that the beer, wine, or spirits have made to get to that modern-day bar shelf is a long and amazing one.

A Timeline of Alcohol History

Mead — 7000 B.C.

Evidence of mead has been found in ancient Chinese pottery vessels.

Wine — 6500 B.C. - 4100 B.C.

Probably originated somewhere near modern-day Armenia.

Beer — 5000 B.C

Ancient Egyptian papyrus scrolls have been discovered documenting their brewing process.

Vodka — 8th century

Originated in either Russia or Poland.

Whiskey — 12th century - 14th century

Monks created the first potable whiskey.

Rum — 14th century

First distilled from molasses by slaves.

Tequila — 16th century

Mass production of tequila begins.

Gin — 17th century

Created in the Netherlands as a medicine.


In all likelihood, the history of alcohol began with mead — a simple drink made from fermented honey. Probably created in ancient times by accident, evidence of early mead production exists all over the world. It was adored by royalty as far back as the Middle Ages and is celebrated throughout classical literature and Greek mythology. Today, mead is making its modern comeback. Across the US, meaderies are popping up, each using particular varieties of honey to create their own signature flavor and style. To really learn about mead, head to a local mead festival and see what all the fuss is about.

Wine and Beer

Wine and beer are enjoyed all over the world. Both beverages are nearly as old as human history itself. Wine is made from fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. Beer is made from fermented barley. Both probably originated thousands of years ago in the ancient Middle East. In time, their production spread throughout the Mediterranean and beyond, eventually traveling all over the world. Wine or beer has countless modern varieties to try and have never been more popular.


Vodka dates all the way back to the early 8th century. Although no one is certain if it was born in Russia or Poland, both countries claim bragging rights. Originally, it was created in home stills to be used as medicine and only later became a drink. It was not, however, the familiar tasting, clear liquid that we know today. It was harsher and had a different color and smell. Later, in the 13th century, other flavors were added to vodka to make it more palatable, like roots, herbs, and honey. Vodka is not usually distilled from potatoes, as many people believe, but rather from wheat or rye. Today, vodka is a bar staple because it provides a blank canvas for many popular cocktails.


Both Ireland and Scotland claim to have invented whiskey but it’s difficult to know which one truly came first. Sometime between 1100 and 1300, monks created the first potable whiskey. It was originally used medicinally and later became the signature drink of both regions. Whiskey gets its golden color by being aged in barrels, which also enhances its taste and aroma. There are many varieties of whiskey throughout the world, including Irish whiskey, bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, scotch, and rye. Order your whiskey on the rocks if you prefer it over ice. If you’d rather enjoy it straight up, ask for it to be served neat.


The history of rum is complicated. It dates back to the 14th century and is made from distilling molasses. Growing sugar cane to produce molasses requires an immense amount of manual labor. Thus, much of rum’s history involves the use of slaves. During the 17th century, the Caribbean was the world’s center of rum production. Poorer people would drink it straight but eventually, individuals with more means added sugar, limes, and fruit, creating early versions of cocktails. Rum has always been associated with pirates, probably because it was a favorite drink of sailors as it was capable of surviving long voyages across the sea. Today, rum is the spirit of choice for those light and fruity cocktails that make the drinker feel like they are enjoying a tropical vacation.


Pre-Columbians have been fermenting the blue agave plant for centuries, long before Europeans found their way to central Mexico. Tequila was officially born in what is now Jalisco and mass production began sometime in the 1600s. Today’s tequila producers must abide by strict rules regarding location and ingredients for their product to be considered a true tequila. There are three types:

Blanco — Un-aged, clear tequila made from blue agave only and usually bottled immediately after its final distillation. They are typically less expensive which makes them ideal in mixed drinks.

Reposado — Aged between two months and a year in oak barrels. It is a light, golden hue and is mellow in flavor. It can be used in premium mixed drinks and is excellent for shots.

Anejo — Aged between 1-3 years in oak barrels. They are darker in color with more complex flavors than other tequilas. They are ideal for sipping.


Originally created by the Dutch as a treatment for ailments such as gallstones and gout, gin reached its full popularity in 17th century England. During this time, a pint of gin was cheaper than a pint of beer, officially ushering in London's "gin craze". Made from distilled grain, gin gains its distinctive flavor and aroma by the addition of juniper berries. Gin has always been a staple of the martini drinking world but lately has enjoyed a resurgence as bartenders expand its usage into all different kinds of cocktails.

Alcohol Today

The United States has a billion-dollar alcohol industry. With the emergence of craft breweries, meaderies, and boutique distilleries, the creative possibilities seem endless and so does the potential for industry growth.

No matter what type of adult beverages you prefer, DoorXDoor Delivery can bring them right to your doorstep. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new, and we’ll be right there to cheer you on. All you need to do is order online, with or without food, and you’ll be enjoying beer, wine, or spirits in no time.

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