Updated: May 21
“Everybody’s got to believe in something. I believe I’ll have another beer.”
What comes to your mind when someone says the word “Party” or “A Holiday”?
The most common answers undoubtedly involve friends, beaches, mountains, music, and a round of drinks.
Alcohol has been a part of our culture since the beginning. It is said that the first attempts at farming in the Neolithic age were aimed at growing grains for bread as well as beer. While historians still debate drinks like wine and beer, we can see for ourselves the way they are present around us and complement each area of our lives.
Bartending and mixology have delved into art forms and are opening up new fields of scientific enquiry. But let’s go back to the basics, what are these drinks and what part have they played in shaping our cultures?
It is said that in most likelihood, the practice of alcohol distillation began in Ancient India. Alcoholic beverages were made from a range of items, from wheat, rice, and millets to sugar cane, grapes, and other fruits. Most Ayurvedic texts recommended a moderated use of these beverages, citing certain nutritional factors.
Clay pots used for distillation of these beverages believed to be in use around 3000 BCE were unearthed from Taxila – in modern day Pakistan.
Wine has been a popular drink in the West, with several aspects of Christianity and Judaism having an element of the beverage in their religious traditions.
The Holy Communion, held around the world in Catholic Churches, is a Christian rite based on the Last Supper where Jesus Christ shared bread and wine with his followers. This last celebration is said to be held in the memory of Christ before his passing from his earthly form. Christ was said to have described the bread as “made of the same material as my body” and the wine as “his blood”.
Today, in Catholic Churches around the world, the followers of Christ are offered Communion. This is a chance to participate in this everlasting supper by accepting a small circular piece of bread, called the Lord’s Wafer, and a sip of wine.
In this way, red wine has been accepted as a necessary element in the faith.
In other cultures, such as Japanese and South Korean, alcohol is seen as a necessary part of social bonding between colleagues. Drinking sessions with all the employees of a department huddled in one section of their favoured restaurant are common and come with their own set of rules.
South Korean and Japanese drinking culture is based in the structure of social hierarchy. This means that for the average South Korean and Japanese person, a drink with friends or colleagues is a serious matter where cultural rules dictate their behaviour.
It is necessary for a drinking group to have a clear understanding of the age differences between people in these cultures as it is the youngest of the group who bears the responsibility to serve everyone the drinks. The drinks are to be served in a particular way, with both hands on the bottle as holding the bottle with one hand is seen as disrespectful and arrogant.
Hoesik – a drinking session with your boss in Korean, is common in South Korean companies. It allows the new employees get to know the higher-level management, thus creating a more comfortable working environment. In this way, the social act of drinking is retained as a part of Korean and Japanese culture.
Many scientists believe that it is this highly beneficial social aspect of drinking that has made possible for the practice to stand the test of time. Given the drastic changes that have come about in the human being due to evolution, it is surprising to see an activity that offers no clear and direct value to the consumer – but only indirect value as a part of a culture.
Look into your own family and society, what are the unspoken rules of drinking around you? What makes your drinking culture unique? Is the mention of alcohol a taboo in your society, or is it common to pop champagne when receiving good news among family and friends?
Whatever your culture and its unique features be, an Outer Woods bag is necessary for anyone who cares about the safety of their precious bottles of wine, or someone who wants to keep their party plans a secret.
Check out the range of Outer Woods Insulated Bottle Bags here.