Here in the land of Oz, alcohol is, for many, a fixture of weekend (and probably weekday) life. We’re not alone. The delicacies behind drinking alcohol have actually held relevance in cultures across the globe… basically forever. Feels like you’ve been drinking for a long time? Let’s see how other folk handled their tipple in the past. Then let’s call in an alcohol delivery to home ( just change your address in the field).
China, 8th Century BC
The traditions of Chinese medicine included various forms of alcohol in medicines throughout history, but perhaps none more surprising than snake wine. Various parts of snake tissue (and venom) are infused with rice grain or grain alcohol and enjoyed after the venom is dissolved in the strong alcohol. Cool.
Roman Empire, 5th Century BC
Bacchus, the God of wine was not the first associate for alcohol in history. But he might be one of the only figures who is – literally – a God of drinking. Bacchus was associated with theatre and leisure, leading the path for the celebration of alcohol and culture entwined.
Russia, 14th Century
Towards the end of the 14th Century, Vodka – or ‘the water of life’ as it was (rightfully) referred to by the deliverers — was brought from Europe and presented to Grand Duke Dmitry Donskoy in Moscow. Since then, the Russians have mastered the art of Vodka and it is today’s etiquette to never leave an empty shot glass on the table. Instead, they throw them all underneath that table, perhaps to soften the self-guilt.
Back in our early days, a bloke named Marcus Clarke said it all when he observed;
“They are not a nation of snobs like the English or of extravagant boasters like the Americans or of reckless profligates like the French, they are simply a nation of drunkards”.
Makes sense, considering Rum was used as a currency. It’s actually often been suggested that around that time, the colony’s inhabitants ‘drank more alcohol per capita than any other time in human history’. Mmm, Rum.
It’s been well accounted that rum (probably amongst other things) was offered to soldiers from Canada, the U.S. and Britain about to go ‘over the top’. Not only does the antidote provide a boost of confidence, it also warms the blood, settles nerves and works to kill pain. It was also used on the outside of the body in attempts to cure — or ease — trench foot. If ever a bunch of fellas deserved a shot of rum to keep themselves steady, it was certainly then.
The Pisco Sour is a brandy based cocktail that was introduced to South America as well as California by a genius of a bartender in the first half of the 20th Century. The main reason we’ve included it here is due to its apparent fuelling of brilliant artists such as Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles, so rest easy in your fears that drinking might stunt your creativity.
Germany/ France, present
Of course, there are a plethora of drinking traditions that you’ll notice on your nights out that have been birthed somewhere along the way but still inspire the lads down the pub every Saturday evening. One of which is the typical toasting tradition in both France and Germany. Where it’s regularly polite to look your drinking pals directly in the eye as you raise a glass, the French and Germans alike will hold you to it on every occasion, only to curse you with seven years of bad sex should you fail to match the eye contact. Yikes.