” I have read that ethanol alcohol—the kind of alcohol that makes us drunk—was the first synthesized product that humans made. Originally made from honey, fruits, berries, grains, and other plants left in the sun to ferment, alcohol and its first use documented as far back as 10,000 B.C.
Historically, fermented beverages:
- Acted as a substitution for water
- Fixed nutritional deficiencies
- Served medicinal purposes
Alcohol also had its place in religious ceremonies and even used as currency. Supposedly, vodka was an ingredient in early European gunpowder. And of course, people drank alcohol in order to become intoxicated.
When shopping for liquor, you will find two different numbers on the bottle. One is the percentage and one is the proof. The percentage is the amount of true ethanol alcohol content, while proof is the official government designation of how much alcohol content is in the beverage. Divide the proof in half to get the actual percentage of alcohol.
The term proof comes from 18th century distillers. To prove the correct alcohol content in their distilled beverages, they added gunpowder. If it did not ignite, there was not enough alcohol. If it burned blue, they declared the alcohol 100 percent proof, or 50 percent ethanol alcohol.