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The World As Told Through 6 Glasses

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on 10 August 2013

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Transcript of The World As Told Through 6 Glasses

Beer
The World As Told Through
6 Glasses
Brynne McMurchie
The first of the world's
influential beverages, beer
was 'discovered' as early as
4000 BCE as the first of the
modern humans began to
deliberately harvest and store
cereal grains. In its simplest form,
beer is grain soaked in water
and then left to ferment in
which time wild yeasts in
the air transform the
sugar in the grain-
water mixture into
alcohol.
Beer's Regional Influence
Egypt
The role of beer
in Egyptian society
was far greater than just as a
drink. Beer was often prescribed
to treat various illnesses; for even
back then it was understood that
alcohol was effective in treating
wounds and preventing infection.
It was also used as
payment for workers and
often involved in many
religious ceremonies.
Mesopotamia
Clay tablets found in
Mesopotamia indicate that
the brewing of beer was a
fairly respectable occupation at the
time. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, a
fabled ruler of Mesopotamia, beer is
described as a way men evolved from
their once 'primitive' ways into that of the
'cultured' man. It is also known that during
this time beer was used as
rations and payment, and like that of
the Egyptians, used as medicine
and part of their
religious practices.
Five Facts of Beer
Beer is often associated with the switch of the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of early humans to that of farming and agriculture because of its discovery through the storing and fermentation of grains.
In ancient and medieval times, beer was often safer to drink than water because the presence of alcohol eliminated many germs and bacteria.
Ancient brewers discovered that reusing the same container for fermenting the mash to make beer would produce a stronger beverage so brewers on the move carried their own tubs with them called mash tubs.
Writing was originally invented to record the collection and distribution of grain, beer, bread, and other goods.
The world's oldest written recipe is for beer.
Wine
The second of the world's
influential beverages, wine
saw a long illustrious history
as a drink of distinction for
the Greeks and the Romans.
Though the creation of wine
dates back many millennium,
viticulture saw its peak during the Roman Empire.
In its lifetime it has been
used as a medicine, a
social drink, and has
played a part in the
religious ceremonies of
many different
cultures.
From Beer to Wine...
Wine's Regional Influence
Greece
Greece is one of
the oldest wine-producing
regions in the world and their
wine was particularly revered
by other cultures in ancient times.
The Greeks viewed wine as a way
of separating man from beast, and
had very particular customs in
regards to the 'correct' consumption
of the beverage. Wine
was the drink of choice
for the classy Greek
intellectual.
Rome
With the rise
of the Roman Empire,
the Romans replaced the
Greeks as the dominant wine-
makers in the Mediterranean.
Wine was considered a daily
necessity that was available to all
social classes - though the wine you
drank did vary between standings.
The flourish of trade due to
wine making in Rome was
critically important to
the economy.

Five Facts of Wine
In Greece, men would often hold drinking parties, or symposiums, during which wine would be served from a large krater, or bowl, and discussions, debates, and entertainment would take place while the wine was consumed.
The communal krater used during Greek symposiums to not only prove to the guests that the wine was safe to drink -for the host drank from it as well- but also to symbolize togetherness and equality.
The Roman equivalent to a Greek symposium was the convivium. The major difference being that conviviums were a place for social distinction. Specific wines were served according to the status of the guest. The best wine was reserved for the elite and the quality gradually deteriorated for each class.
Greeks had a very specific way of drinking wine. It was always to be drunk after being mixed with water. They believed that only Dionysus, the god of wine, could handle the drink in its undiluted form.
In ancient Rome, much like today, wine quality depended on where the wine was made, who made the wine, and how old the wine was. In the opinion of the Romans, the best wine of the age was Falernian, an Italian wine grown in the region of Campania.
We begin our journey with...
From Wine to Spirits...
Spirits
Spirits are a kind of alcoholic beverage
made through the
process of distillation.
This process, which was engineered by Arab alchemists in the 7th century, makes the drinks have a much higher alcoholic content than either beer or wine.
It's initial use was
as a medicine.
Spirits' Regional Influence
Africa
With Europe's
introduction to distillation,
strong alcoholic beverages like
spirits would quickly become a kind
of cheap, easy-to-make currency in order to purchase African slaves from their slavers. Africans valued distilled spirits because their concentration was far higher than their native beers and wines. It soon became customary for Europeans to present large quantities of alcohol as a gift beginning negotiations with African
traders. Because of their taste for spirits,
millions of African slaves would be
taken and sold on American soil,
the start of many centuries of
the country's peculiar
institution.
The American Colonies
With many
new ways in creating
spirits, from the excesses of rice
and sugar and so on, the drinks would
quickly take on a prevalent role in the
budding country's new economy. At one
point, rum -made from the waste products of sugar- would become one of New England's most profitable manufactured items. As years
progressed and England attempted to regain
control of her wayward colonies by
imposing many taxes on everything,
including the ingredients to make spirits, America would be
pushed over the edge and
take the first steps toward
revolution.
Five Facts of Spirits
Wine had been used for many centuries as a medicine, so it only seemed to be logical that spirits, which were stronger and purer, would have even greater healing powers.
A king by the name of Charles II of Navarre in 1386 once fell ill and, in an attempt to cure him, his doctors drenched his bedsheets in distilled alcohol. They were not able to see if the treatment worked, however, for a careless servant's candle accidentally set the bed on fire. Because alcohol is highly flammable, the King's bed became an inferno. Later on his subjects would agree that his death was divine judgment. It is speculated that they did not much care for him.
As distilled wine became a more popular medical treatment in Europe during the thirteenth century and was known for being a miraculous new medicine, it was given the name aqua vitae, or "water of life."
Spirits played a key role in the infamous Triangle Trade. The spirits would be used in Africa to trade for slaves, who would then be taken to America and her adjacent islands. There, the slaves would be put to work, particularly on sugar plantations. The waste products that came from making sugar would be then made into spirits like rum and then shipped back to Europe where they would then be traded in Africa and the process would begin anew.
Many centuries ago, one of the main causes of death amongst sailors was scurvy, which they were unaware was caused from a lack of vitamin C. When lemon or lime juice became a compulsory addition to the popular drink grog, incidences of scurvy amongst English sailors was reduced dramatically.
From Spirits to Coffee...
Coffee
The first of the world's influential drinks that contains caffeine as
opposed to alcohol, coffee
was a beverage made
popular in the Arabian peninsula and used as a religious substitute to
other alcoholic beverages.
From there it would eventually spread to
Europe and the rest
of the world.
Coffee's Regional Influence
The Middle East
Because the
Islamic prophet
Muhammad was fabled to
have said that alcohol is to forever
be avoided, practicing Muslims have
always looked for an alternative.
Many centuries ago, when the invigorating effects of coffee were
acknowledged by those of the
Middle East, the beverage of clarity
quickly became popular as
a social drink amongst
the masses.
England
Popularity for
coffee in England was
very slow growing but when it
finally took off, it was the drink for
everyone. Often referred to as the great
soberer, it was the anti-alcohol because it promoted
clarity of the thought and mind, and very rapidly
became the beverage of choice for the age of
Enlightenment. As its influence spread, coffee houses
sprung up all over the country, particularly in
London, and these places were well known as
gathering places for intelligent discussion and the
exchanging of ideas. Some of the greatest minds of
the age would convene in coffeehouses to
discuss the latest discoveries in science and,
because of this, the scientific community
saw a drastic improvement
in interest and ideas.
Five Facts of Coffee
One legend claims that coffee was discovered when an Ethiopian goat-herder noticed that his flock became particularly frisky after consuming the cherries of a strange bush.
Coffee was taken up by Muslims because of its lack of alcohol, however it was contested by many for some Muslim scholars believed that coffee, like beer and wine, was intoxicating and that it should be banned as well. It was only successfully banned a handful of times, but always managed to come back.
When coffee spread to the rest of Europe, those most vehemently opposed to it stood on the grounds that the drink was evil. They contended that since Muslims were not able to drink wine, the holy drink of Christians, that the devil punished them with coffee instead.
Coffeehouses were places of self-education, literary and philosophical speculation, and commercial innovation. They were the focal point of the Age of Reason.
In France, it was the political discussions that took place in public coffeehouses that would fuel the fires of unrest amongst the people against the monarch and would eventually lead to the French Revolution.
From Coffee to Tea...
This caffeinated drink
has been an important
beverage for a multitude
of centuries around the
world - particularly in
China and England. Hailed
as a drink with many
medicinal values and tasting
quite delicious, it has led
an illustrious history of
necessity amongst those
who have become
accustomed to
drinking it.
Tea
Tea's Regional Influence
China
Long before
modern times, tea's medicinal
qualities have been known in China.
They knew that the leaves had healing powers and were good in promoting
clarity of thought considering their caffeine content. The religion of Taoism contended that tea was an essential ingredient to the elixir of life. Because of the presence of powerful antiseptic phenolics in tea, it was safer to drink than water and drastically
cut down on infant mortality
as well as kill off the bacterium
known to cause diseases like
typhoid and cholera.
England
Tea was
originally much more
expensive to drink than coffee,
however, when it reached peak
popularity in England, everyone had to have
their two cups a day. It became such a necessity
for the people that those who controlled the
tea-trade pretty much controlled the government. That was never more true than it was with the infamous East India Company that would take command of the industry and the tea's importation from China. The absolute need for tea in England would be so great at one point that it would become the very reason for the Opium Wars. The drug opium, popular in China at
the time, would be used in trade for tea supplies
from the Chinese, who knew how to make it
best. This all went on under the nose of
Chinese authorities and would
spark tension between
both countries.
Five Facts of Tea
According to Chinese tradition, the emperor Shen Nung, who reigned from 2737-2697 BCE, brewed the first cup of tea. Tradition also maintains that he invented agriculture and the plow.
Tea is said to have provided the basis for the widening of European trade with the East. The profits from the trade were what helped to fund the East India Company's advancement into India.
Even in prehistoric times, people noticed the energizing effect tea leaves had when they were chewed, and that they seemed to also have a healing effect when
applied to wounds.

Both Buddhist and Taoist monks found tea to be an invaluable aid to meditation - this is due in most part for tea's ability to enhance concentration and diminish fatigue.
When tea was first introduced to Europeans, its medicinal values were a contested subject. Some believed it to be beneficial to the health, while others thought it could actually kill you. A Dutch doctor by the name of Cornelius Bontekoe thought that tea should be consumed everyday with an upward limit of 200 cups.
From Tea to Coca-Cola...
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola or coke can be
considered America's national drink. Originally made as
a medicinal beverage in the
late 19th century, in a few short decades, it became the
country's favorite drink. From pharmacies to the local grocery shelf, coke would become famous world-wide and would become the
second most understood universal phrase next to 'okay.'
Coke's Regional Influence
America
Created
initially to act as a cure
for headaches and other ailments,
its taste quickly became popular
throughout the county and began to be sold
not just as a medicine but as a commercial beverage. As its popularity began to increase, it became a symbolism for the American way of life and, during WWII, was supplied to every soldier as a necessity wherever they went. As the American way spread throughout the world, Coca-Cola did as well and the rest of the world began to associate the sweet, fizzy drink as a representation of the country. For good or for bad it depended on who you
were asking.
The Soviet Union
The years
prior to WWII, when tensions
were becoming more strained
between the US and the Soviet Union
by the day, they too would adopt Coca-
Cola as a symbol of America - and everything
that was wrong with the country. Coke was
the physical form of capitalism and that was
exactly what the Soviets detested most. As America grew as an international political influence against communism and as it
attempted to reconstruct Europe through the
Marshall Plan, those who were against the interference targeted Coke as something
to pit their anger against. Even
today, Coke is stilled revered as
the icon of the US.
Five Facts of Coke
Konstantinovich Zhukov, the Soviet Union's greatest military leader, developed quite a liking for Coca-Cola, but because of the strained relations between the US and Russia, he had to surreptitiously order colorless coke in cylindrical bottles so that no one would know.
Germany and Japan were claimed to have said that Coca-Cola was an example of everything that was wrong with the United States - despite the fact that both countries had sold the drink before the second World War and that it was quite popular in Germany.
While WWII raged on in Europe and the entirety of the US was subject to rationing, the Coca-Cola company was exempt from sugar rationing on the grounds that the drink was vital to the war effort.
When Coca-Cola was first created it was advertised as a "valuable Brain Tonic, and a cure for all nervous affections - Sick Headache, Neuralgia, Hysteria, Melancholy, etc. The peculiar flavor of Coca-Cola delights every palate."
The original recipe for coke calls for 5 ounces of coca leaf (derived from the plant that makes cocaine) per gallon, but that was removed in the year 1903.
I would like to thank you now for taking this timely tour of the
History of the World in 6 Glasses.

Six drinks and more to come...
-Brynne McMurchie
Full transcript