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  Life   Food  03 Feb 2017  Uncorking the past

Uncorking the past

THE ASIAN AGE. | KETAN SWAMI
Published : Feb 3, 2017, 1:38 am IST
Updated : Feb 3, 2017, 7:13 am IST

Much before craft beer came into the picture, alcohol was consumed as beer in ancient Sumeria.

Anthropologists reveal that drinking beer was the norm in 4,000 BC, since there are records of beer being traded.
 Anthropologists reveal that drinking beer was the norm in 4,000 BC, since there are records of beer being traded.

We humans are genetically programmed to dig in information that has our curiosity. One such idea that got my curiosity  during my hotel management days — who started making alcohol and why? I am not against it. In fact, I am  thankful to all those who helped me and my colleagues earn their bread and butter. Alcohol has its roots dating back to 10 million years ago, much before we began brewing it. So when alcohol was created, it was done so mainly for medicinal properties.

Anthropologists reveal that drinking beer was the norm in 4,000 BC, since there are records of beer being traded. Ancient Sumerians have been having beer, since 1,800 BC and this is said to be the oldest recipe. Traditionally, Egyptians used alcohol in their rituals during burial as provision for afterlife journey. During battles, it was used to end feuds, and even encourage warriors.

Now, various countries have wanted to earn their bragging rights on having invented alcohol. Egypt, Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Persia and China are just a few names. However, it was Iranian physician Dr Razi who was responsible for introducing the use of alcohol during the Islamic golden age.

Naturally there are other substances, which helped researchers and groomed our modern distillers and spirit makers to make fine alcohol. Fermentation, which is responsible for creating ethanol naturally with a little help from various ingredients, is the gift from nature to us. Rice, grains, fruits, corn, honey and water are a few ingredients used in making alcohol. Using botanicals in your drink is said to make it effective. Hence, the term “let’s drink to health” came to be used.

Alcohol in different stages and forms is used as antifreeze, antiseptic, preservatives, medicinal drugs, and perfumes, cosmetics like eyeliner and to some extent used in vegetable essences such as vanilla. It is also found in alcoholic beverages sold to adults, as fuel, and also has many smedical, and industrial uses. Over the years, there have been many social ramifications of celebrating with a drink. Alcohol is consumed as a toast, a sedative, and thirst quencher among other things. My only tip — savour alcohol; don’t over-consume it.
Ketan Swami is the food and beverage manager at Mars Hospitality.

Tags: alcohol, beer, drinks