Monkeys love to get their drink on. In Darwin’s eyes, we are natural born, evolved and fit drinkers. Humans have been making alcohol since they could raise a glass with the Missing Link, so get primal with your drinking and order these five ancient alcoholic beverages in your modern bar.
Mead. On the African continent more than 40,000 years ago, feral bees would nest in the dry season. The wet season came around and filled those nests with water, and over time, the honey-water mixture turned into wine. Bees were then kept not only for honey, but for the rudimentary booze. Mead is this wine made with honey rather than grapes, and mead-making has been refined for 40 centuries. Your high end wine bar is likely to carry a variety of mead.
Cachaca. Many believe Cachaca to be the first refined hard liquor. Developed hundreds of years ago in Central and South America, Cachaca has become one of the favorite liquors of Brazil, but is relatively unknown in North America. Cachaca is made from sugar cane, which is similar to rum (made from molasses). Order a Caipirihna, which is a like a Mojito on steroids, and enjoy this ancient liquor.
Pulque. Pulque got a bad name in Central America because it was the drink of choice for peasant farmers. Pulque is made from the agave plant, just like tequila or mezcal, but the distilling process is stopped short to create a carbonated, low alcohol content, beer-like liquid. Boutique pulque brewers have started to pop up, and the ancient Central American brew is beginning to make a resurgence in swanky bars.
Palm Wine. When mead was discovered, people started to look for other ways to make wine. Before grapes were utilized, the people of Africa and Asia tapped the sap of the palm tree. The beverage was nicknamed “Toddy” and is consumed soon after fermentation. Toddy is generally served alongside a sweet beverage made from the same palm tree sap to compliment its sour taste. Boutique toddy makers still exist, and you’re likely to find this ancient drink at high-end wine bars.
Ale. In the Gilgamesh Epic, written in the 3rd century B.C., the first mention of beer pops up. The text tells us that beer was used to cleanse oneself and to turn barbarians into civilized humans. Generally, there are two processes to make beer, resulting in either ale or lager. Ale takes less time to brew and is almost certainly the first type of beer brewed by humans. So cleanse yourself and become a civilized human being by tipping back those suds.