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Drinking & Culture

The history, myths and legends about the origins of alcohol making are fascinating. Cultures from around the world have stories to tell that go back when their people engaged first in distilling, brewing and wine making. Worldwide there are captivating rituals and traditions that tie into local cultures and production methods.

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Vital Du Four

Vital Du Four

Cardinal Vital du Four (Vitalis de Furno) was a Franciscan theologian, scholastic philosopher, and alchemistic scholar in Southwest France from 1260 to 1327. He is known for his work "Liber selectiorum remediorum pro conservanda sanitate ad totius corporos humani...

The Story of Madeira Wine

The Story of Madeira Wine

Madeira is a Likörwine, a fortified wine with brandy added that is referred to in Portugal as Vino Generoso (or short Generoso). The origin of Madeira wine is originated in a historic accident when Madeira wine makes cut off the fermentation process with a high proof...

The Mystery Of Cage Cups

The Mystery Of Cage Cups

A diatret glass (also called a cage cup) is a mostly bell-shaped, magnificent double-walled vessel with pierced glass. Diatreta consist of an inner beaker and an outer cage or shell of decoration that stands out from the body of the cup, to which it is attached by...

Poitín

Poitín

Poitín is a spirit made in Ireland. The name derives from Irish "pot" with the diminutive -ín (hence small pot), indicating that it has traditionally been distilled in small pots. The distillate was mainly produced in rural farming areas of Ireland. Poitín distillers...

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre (also Rum & Coke) is one of the most served cocktails in the world. Just few know that the drink is dating back to the time of the Spanish-American War (April 21 – August 13, 1898), an armed conflict between Spain and the United States. For Cuba, the...

The Origin Of Cacao

The Origin Of Cacao

Puerto Escondido (the "Hidden Port") is an excavation site in the lower Ulúa Valley in northern Honduras, and it may be the "Cradle of Chocolate". According to an article published in 2007 by the PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United...

The King’s Ginger

The King’s Ginger

In 1901 King Edward VII was crowned King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions, Emperor of India. Edward was a leader of the London society, known to have spend most of his time partying, hunting, racing, sailing and eating with...

The story of Ægir’s Ale

The story of Ægir’s Ale

In Nordic mythology Ægir (also Ägir, Gymir or Hlér) is the name of a giant of the sea, a so called jötunn, that is often mistaken for a god. Ægir is the brother of Kári (Wind) and Logi (Fire), and lives with his wife Ran and 9 daughters in a hall beneath the sea that...

The Carnivore’s Mezcal

The Carnivore’s Mezcal

Mezcal is a Mexican spirit with around 40% alcohol by volume, distilled from the pulp of different agave species. The taste and appearance of the distillate vary depending on the type of agave, the region, how it is prepared and how long it is stored. Tequila is...

Kottabos

Kottabos

The famous game of kottabos was fashionable in Athens in the 6th to 5th century BC and became a widespread passion in southern Italy until ca. the 4th century BC. The idea of the game was the "artful throwing of wine" consumed from a bowl (kylix) or mug (skyphos)...

Waragi – The War Gin

Waragi – The War Gin

Waragi is a gin-like alcoholic beverage made in Uganda. The name originally derives from the term "war gin" which later developed into waragi. This spirit is said to have been named after British people living in Uganda in the 1950s and 1960s. Until gaining...

Bootleggers & Baptists

Bootleggers & Baptists

The American scientist Bruce Yandle published his economic theory Bootleggers and Baptists in 1983. His theory describes that groups with opposite goals can support each other. Interestingly, Yandle used the early 20th century laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to...

Cleopatra’s Pearls

Cleopatra’s Pearls

Cleopatra's pearls (also called Cleopatra's banquet) is a famous bet described of Pliny The Elder (Natural History 9.119-21). The last of the Egyptian Queens owned the two greatest pearls of her time which had been given to her by oriental kings. Antony was known to...

Your Lips Must Touch The Toe

Your Lips Must Touch The Toe

In Dawson City on the east bank of the Yukon is the only place where one can drink a Sourtoe Cocktail at the Downtown Hotel's bar. The small, former gold mining town in Canada's northwest hosts since the early 1970s the more than unusual Sourtoe Cocktail Club. It was...

The Midnight Ride

The Midnight Ride

Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride is mostly known as the alert to the American colonial militia in April 1775 that "The British Are Coming!". Less known is the story that claims Revere consumed quite an amount of rum that night. According to author Wayne Curtis, Revere...

Mesca Ulad

Mesca Ulad

Mesca Ulad or 'The Drunkenness of the Warriors of Ulster" -  is a tale from Irish mythology first written about in the 12th century A.D.. The first part of the tale is written in Middle Irish in the Lebor Laignech ('The Book of Leinster"), the second part is in Old...

Maria Prophetissa

Maria Prophetissa

Maria Prophetissa (also Maria Prophetissima, Maria the Jewess, Maria the Hebrew, or "daughter of Plato") lived sometime between the 1st and 3rd century A.D. in Alexandria, Egypt. She is a key figure in Hellenistic Alchemy. Zosimos from Panopolis (ca 3rd to 4th century...

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