We are used to seeing a large selection of alcohol on store shelves, and we cannot imagine that it did not exist not long ago (by historical standards). Our forefathers drank very different drinks in the past. Many of them would be unpleasant to you, while others would entice you to try them.
In ancient Greece, kykeon was a general description of potions with “magical effects” used for rites. It is still a mystery what exactly the recipe for kykeon was, but scientists agree that it consisted of a mixture of barley, wine and cheese. Moreover, the grain was mouldy, processed with something that gave a psychedelic effect for immersion in a trance.
Another, along with kykeon, is a drink with a mysterious recipe, which is still being debated among historians. Shedeh is an ancient Egyptian drink made from pomegranates or grapes or a mixture of both. Shedeh was made for the pharaohs and the nobility close to them. On the papyrus describing the shedeh, it was indicated that it was a filtered and heated drink. It can be assumed that thousands of years ago, the Egyptians drank hot wine to reduce (oddly enough) heat on the body. To get the latest stories, install our app here
Ancient Rome loved wine, having received a craving for this drink from the Greeks, like much of their culture. One of the most common alcoholic beverages was posca, wine diluted with sour wine or vinegar made from spoiled wine. This “cocktail” was drunk by ordinary citizens of Rome and soldiers. For the most part, it was consumed to quench thirst and not to get drunk or enjoy the taste. Spicy herbs were added to the posca to improve the taste.
Among the officers of the Roman army, there was something like a rite of passage when they, along with ordinary soldiers, drank posca, thereby showing closeness to ordinary soldiers.
Soma is first described in the Rigveda, a collection of religious hymns, the first monument of Indian literature, created around 1700-1100 BC. To get the latest stories, install our app here
The recipe for soma is not exactly known. It is assumed that it was made from mushrooms, honey, cannabis, blue lotus, milk, and pomegranate. The main ingredient, a hallucinogen, was mixed with milk and water and consumed before performing rituals. And although soma cannot be called alcohol, the drink had an intoxicating effect.
Pulque is considered the ancestor of tequila and mezcal, created millennia ago by the indigenous peoples of Central America. Pulque was obtained by fermenting agave; it had a milky white colour and a fairly mild taste.
Unlike many other alcoholic beverages, pulque contains a lot of prebiotics, due to which the Indians used it for medicinal purposes. Researchers believe that pulque began to be produced about four thousand years ago.
6. Egyptian beer
Beer appeared in our diet not thanks to the Germans, Slavs, or other people; it came from Egypt. The ancient Egyptians knew a lot about the foamy drink and used it every day, not because of the taste, but not to go to the underground god ahead of time because of the meagre diet. To get the latest stories, install our app here
Beer was made from roasted grain, sometimes with barley and yeast. For some time, it was fermented, after which it was filtered and poured into containers.
Researchers have found recipes for Egyptian beer on papyri dating back to the pre-dynastic period. Beer was brewed in Egypt as early as the fourth millennium BC.
7. Falernian wine
Falernian wine appeared around the first century AD in the Roman Empire. It can hardly be called traditional wine because the strength of this drink was, according to various estimates, thirty or even forty degrees or more. Pliny the Elder – an ancient Roman writer – said that this is the only wine that takes light when a flame is applied to it
Falernian wine was aged 15–20 years and was about four times more expensive than a regular grape drink.
Unlike posca or Falernian wine, conditum – another invention of the ancient Romans – was pleasant to drink. The conditum was made from honey, to which pepper, bay leaf, saffron or other spices were added, and (optionally) dates. All this mixture was boiled over low heat, after which it was cooled and allowed to ferment. To get the latest stories, install our app here
Due to the presence of spices, the conditum did not deteriorate for a long time and was well suited for long journeys or military campaigns.
9. Midas Beer
When the researchers opened the tomb of the famous Anatolian king Midas, they found a lot of beer in it. A memorial feast was held in the tomb, thanks to which scientists were able, by analyzing the vessels with the liquid and the cauldrons in which the drinks were brewed, to determine the recipe for Midas’ beer. It was a mixture of grape wine, mead and barley beer. And perhaps this is one of the sweetest alcoholic drinks of the ancient world.
Retsina is a Greek resinous white wine. Retsina is very different from other wines with its original turpentine flavour, which was given by pine resin. It was added as a preservative, making it possible to store retsina for a long time, even under unsuitable temperature conditions. Researchers believe that retsina appeared three to four thousand years ago, so this wine is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages.