Like fine cuisine or good cigars, the breadth and depth of knowledge related to various alcoholic beverages can truly take a lifetime to learn about. Here are just five of the most favorited alcoholic beverages on the market today and why their popularity is likely to endure for many years to come.
Beer is an alcoholic beverage of truly historic proportions: Evidence of its use in Iran dates back over 5000 years. Beer was popular everywhere from Ancient Egypt to Iron Age Britain. The drink’s popularity hasn’t waned in the intervening millennia either. Today, beer is the most popular alcoholic drink in the United States by a wide margin.
Like beer, wine has been a popular alcoholic beverage for thousands of years and was one of the leading exports of the ancient world. Distillation was not invented until the 13th Century, moreover, wine was also one of the few things that people had to drink in ancient times. The Ancient Greeks and Romans diluted their wines with water. In fact, some aristocratic Romans preferred mixing their most expensive wines with seawater. That’s a mixture you probably won’t find at your local liquor store.
Although popular whiskey distilleries have popped up everywhere from Japan to Canada, whisky is perhaps most associated with Scotland and Ireland. Although whisky would later become a popular drink in those countries, and although no less a personage than George Washington would one day run his own distillery in the United States. Distilled alcoholic drinks were actually first used as medicines in the United Kingdom and were known as “aqua vitae” or “water of life.”
Cider is typically thought of as a countryside drink in the United Kingdom, and a few cider recipes are indeed so powerful there that they have been banned in some pubs. But the cider trend is also catching on in a big way in the United States. At present, cider is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks on the market in America. It’s not hard to see why. Cider is more refreshing than wine but far less “heavy” as a drink than beer, as it cools you down in summer and provides warmth in winter. It’s also a perfect drink to enjoy in any season.
Over the past 200 years, bourbon has been America’s own distinctive take on whisky. Its continuing popularity confirms bourbon’s place in the pantheon of American alcoholic beverages. Named after a powerful French dynasty, it has been speculated that the drink’s name comes from a famous street in New Orleans. That would certainly be an appropriate reference for a drink with deep roots in Southern American culture.
From bourbon to beer, these five alcoholic beverages all have compelling histories and cultural associations. For many people, developing a taste for one of these beverages can be an adventure that lasts a lifetime. Here’s to great new experiences and great brews.