Happy June 2020, Rocky Point. Man, the place sure changed the past month from previous years…just amazing what a pandemic can create throughout the world and here in Rocky Point. Restaurants, beaches, bars, stores…CLOSED! Now that Phase I of the re-opening process has begun, let’s all let our a sigh and say a prayer that there is not a hitch with Phase II and Phase III rolling out on time and the process remains healthy and the economic life comes back to our city and Mexico! I had mentioned in May’s article about the carts I would see at the grocery store…Eggs, cheese, tortillas and 11 bottles of booze…seemed like that was the norm so I thought I would do a little research on why the garbage cans seemed to be overflowing with bottles of an array of booze on trash collection day and do some research on some of the many types of liquor that we consume today. After all, we can only “work from home” for so long :)!
OK, calm down Kimmy…she gets all excited when tequila is mentioned! Back in 200 A.D., the Aztecs were known to throw some Bella Sirena ragers back in the day as they fermented a drink know as pulque which used the sap of the agave plant. The milky liquid was way important to the Aztec culture…so much that they worshiped gods known to be well-related to booze. Later, the drink really caught on centuries later when the Aztecs received a surprise visit from the Spanish. When the Spanish invaded, they couldn’t be without their brandy for long, so when supplies ran low, they used mud and agave and created what is now known as mezcal. Then, in the mid 1500’s the Spanish government opened a trade route between Manila and Mexico and in the 1600s, they built the first large scale distillery into what we now know as TEQUILA!!
Ho Ho Ho…and a bottle of RUM…
The first distillation of rum took place on the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean in the 17th century. Plantation slaves were the first to discover that molasses, the by-product of refining sugar, fermented into alcohol. Later, the distillation of the molasses created a stronger alcohol and removed the impurities that produced the first true rums. Our best estimate is that the first rum was produced on the island of Barbados. After rum’s development in the Caribbean, the popularity of the liquor spread to Colonial America. The colonists set up their first rum distillery in 1664 in what is now, Staten Island, New York. This soon became the colonies first and most prosperous industry. Rhode Island rum even joined gold as an accepted currency in Europe for a time. During this time, the average consumption for every man, woman and child was 3 gallons of rum per person per year! Wow, now they knew how to toss a party!
Well, you cannot make my favorite cocktail, F a Duck without vodkey!!! The word vodka comes from the Russian word for water…voda. Vodka originated in the early 8th or 9th century in Poland…wow who knew…well I guess the Poturalski and Bialy families knew! Shortly after, it became very popular in Russia. Vodka was very popular in Russia, Poland and the Balkan states until World War II, and then its popularity spread throughout the rest of Europe and the United States. Na Zdorovie is the Polish term for Cheers that the Poles would use to toast before tossing back a shot. Not shockingly, Belarus, a former republic of the USSR, leads the world in vodka consumption per capita.
The term whiskey derives from a Gaelic term which translates to water of life. Gaelic is a branch of Celtic spoken in the Highlands of Scotland. The origins of whiskey can be traced back to the Medieval monks of Scotland and Ireland but now these two countries have their own distinct styles of whiskey. Later, the Americans made their own brand of whiskey, which we know as bourbon. I know whiskey can be a very popular cocktail but I sort of ruined it for myself at the ripe age of 16…..still a bit green :). Rumor has it, they still like to toss a few back in Mumbles, Whales…ehhhh Nanny?
Roll out the barrel…BEER!!!
Beer is the oldest recorded recipe in the world! The ancient Egyptians first documented the brewing process on scrolls back around 5,000 BC. It was during the Middle Ages that we modern beer was born. Brewers had been using malted barley as the main source of fermentation for hundreds of years, but the use of hops as a bittering and flavoring agent did not become common until around the 12th century. Monks loved their beer and nearly every monastery had a brewery on site! Funny fact…according to the journals of Pilgrims, the reason they landed at Plymouth Rock was that they were out of beer and needed to make more. So…the first permanent structure they built was a brewery. Here in Mexico, the first beer was brewed in 1897 and named…Dos Equis!
Ok here you go WINE-o’s…
The oldest use of wine dates all the way back to China 9,000 years ago! Two thousand years later the start of the European winemaking tradition began in Asia. 4,000 years ago Armenia was the first known place for grape crushing and fermentation into jars and ultimately making red wine. Today, the USA has over 10,000 wineries with almost half of them coming from California. California produces 85% of the country’s wine. Over 40% of adult Americans drink wine, making it the most popular adult beverage in the USA.
So there you have it…a brief history of several types of the popular alcohols from around the world. I hope we all get to kick back with one very soon at our favorite Rocky Point watering hole or just kicking it on the beach! See you all soon…I MISS YOU ALL!!!