Alcohol, oh, sweet alcohol.
By Maureen Joseph
Some may know it as spirits, rum, liquor, or “booze.”
Regardless of the name, or the cost, alcohol has been a significant part of our life from ancient time.
The history of alcohol is debatable.
Humans have been producing and consuming spirits from 30,000 to 100,000 years ago, according to ThoughtCo. The earliest version of liquor dates back to prehistoric times, according to scientists who study evolution.
Babylonians worshipped the wine goddess Amphictyonis, and up to these modern times, monks in monasteries still produce up to 80% of most beers, according to research.
Beers are usually made from barley, malt and hops, which is pretty similar to the first version of alcohol. It derived from honey and water and eventually upgraded to fermented fruits.
Alcohol was first designed for medicinal purposes about 9,000 years ago.
It was used to treat ailments, body aches and pains.
Fast forward to 2020, many people of Caribbean descent use it in a traditional form to prevent the cold and flu, while some mix it with lime and honey to create an elixir.
Spirits like rum always make appearances at Caribbean fetes or limes.
Artists like Beenie Man and Machel Montana have made songs declaring their love for the alcohol that derived from sweet, syrupy molasses.
So who drinks the most alcohol?
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found heavy drinking is more prevalent in Native Americans at 12.1%, followed by white Americans at 8.3% and Hispanics at 6.1%.
How Caribbean people didn’t make the cut is a wonder since the majority of Caribbean islands produce and rely on alcohol sales as much as tourism.
Not to mention the consumption.
By the late 17th century, rum from the Caribbean replaced French brandy as the exchange alcohol of choice in the Triangular Trade, boosting similar trades worldwide.
It may seem as though today’s generation consumes more alcohol, but history may prove otherwise.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend about 1% of their gross annual income on alcohol or an average of $565 roughly $11 per week.
That proves that not that much has changed over the years.
Records indicate that George Washington spent about 7% of his annual salary on liquor.
The same way we can closely compare how excessive alcohol use cost the U.S. economy $249 billion in 2010. Whereas, America ran dry on a shortage of booze in January 1920.
Although alcohol has a bad reputation for causing anger, domestic abuse and random bar fights, it has been used by some of life’s greatest history makers.
For example, Vincent van Gogh spent all day drinking absinthe in the sun. Winston Churchill drank wine for breakfast and scotch for dinner.
All in all, alcohol, like any other substance, is to be consumed in moderation.
It has been around for centuries gone and centuries more to come. I’m not saying have a drink but have a drink.