Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Earliest Evidence of Chinese drinks

New Scientist reports that chemical evidence from an excavation in Henan Province showed that ancient Chinese were brewing fermented alcoholic drinks from honey, grapes and hawthorn at about 7000BC. This will probably push back the date of the first hang-over from 5400BC in Iran.

It was a historical fact that the ancient Chinese from the ancient Xia and Shang dynasties loved their drink. In fact, the last kings of both dynasties were tyrants infamous for their atrocities and debaucheries (lubricated by copious amount of alcohol). This seeming coincidence was linked by historians by the theory that the kings was suffering from arsenic poisoning due to the alcohol reacting to the bronze drinking cups. Only kings and nobility at that time could afford wine and bronze ware.

China can probably claim another invention other than paper, gunpowder, compass and movable-type printing. The Chinese can also claim another innovation in using green tea (the bottled, slightly sweetened kind) as a mixer for Chivas Regal and Johnny Walker scotch whisky. Their manufacturers are probably laughing to the bank since the Chinese guzzled expensive imported whisky like mineral water, but the purists are also aghast at the sacrilege that green tea is used to dilute 12-year old scotch and even red wine.


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