Tuesday, November 23, 2021

A History of the World in 6 Glasses

People cannot live very long without liquid. In early human history, humans had to stay near water sources. As people moved away from hunter-gatherer societies different beverages were incorporated into their lives. Standage explores the history through six of these: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.

Beer is one of the oldest and seems to have arrived in conjunction with agriculture. The natural fermentation helped to kill off microorganisms and make it safer to drink. (Now that people were in one place, waste and water were closer together.) Wine built on this, but became a more complex drink, with different qualities for different classes. Spirits added distillation to increase alcohol content. Rum may have been a significant influence of the American revolution. 

The caffeinated beverages played their role in the globalized society. Both tea and coffee spread from their homeland all over the world. Water was boiled, making it safer to drink without the innebreation of alcohol. The coffee-shop culture became a more "calm" venue for intellectual stimulation than the drinking house. It also served as a news venue. Britain really clung to tea and built up a vast empire to facilitate production. Coca Cola is the modern innovation that has spread all over the world as the US has become a global power.

Today we have gone full circle. Water is making a comeback. Water can be found in bottled form at prices much higher than it would be from the tap. However, "plain water" does not have the baggage of the other drinks.

No comments:

Post a Comment