Joined: Jul 27, 2002
From: D.C. / Virginia
|Posted: 2008-07-14 11:03 am  Permalink|
There is a new 500 page book about the cultural history of alcohol, and its imapct on various cultures throughout history. It sounds quite fascinating, and full of interesting tidbits.
Here is the review I read
and here are a few fun excerpts from the above review
- Aztecs liked fermented sap, but had a legal drinking age (52) higher than their average life expectancy—although every four years they’d hold a New Year’s festival called “Drunkenness of Children,” at which all citizens, including toddlers, were required to drink.
- During Prohibition, American moonshine-makers didn’t have time to age their spirits, so they faked the effect by adding dead rats and rotten meat.
- In sixteenth-century Japan, it was an insult to your host to stay sober, so guests who couldn’t drink would pretend to be drunk and even hungover “by sending thank-you letters deliberately late, written in shaky characters.”
- The Pilgrims’ Mayflower was actually “a claret ship from the Bordeaux wine trade,” and a group of settlers who came over to join them brought 20,000 gallons of beer and wine but only 3,000 gallons of water.
- In ancient Greece, water drinkers “were believed not only to lack passion but also to exude a noxious odor”; in post-WWI France, they were thought to be fat, weak, and pimply.