Whether you’re a wine connoisseur, a beer drinker or a cocktail queen, these 18 fun facts about alcohol will keep everyone at the party entertained!
Cheers! Cin Cin! Saludi! Sante! Prost! Kanpai! Whether it’s beer, wine, mead, saké, or hard liquor, alcohol brings people together in celebration. Let’s all raise a glass of our favourite beverage and toast to these fun facts about alcohol.
Alcohol has the magical ability to take down our defenses, lift our spirits, and transform a bad day into a day worth celebrating. We’re not saying we rely on alcohol to have a good time, but it can certainly help in A LOT of situations.
Champagne is popped at a wedding. Beer is shared from a keg at a backyard barbecue. Wine is sipped at a fancy dinner party. A smoky glass of whiskey is savored in front of a crackling fire.
Let’s all be honest, alcohol is great (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!) Just how great is it though?
In moderation, alcohol can bridge gaps between people, breaks the ice, and encourages festivity and openness. We talk a little more, move a little freer, and feel on top of the world.
Of course, it’s always good to remember what the writer & philosopher G.K Chesterton quipped: “Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.”
While alcohol can be detrimental to some, most can enjoy a few beverages, appreciating not only the emotional effects of alcohol, but the complex flavours and diversity of taste that alcohol can offer.
So, pour yourself your favorite tipple and let’s get stuck into it. We promise you some of these facts will really surprise you!
18 Interesting Facts About Alcohol
1. We’ve been boozing for over 9,000 years
Did you know we’ve been drinking alcohol for over 9,000 years!?
The first fermented beverages date back to 7000-6600 BC in China’s Yellow River Valley. The wicked brew was a mixed drink of fermented rice, honey and hawthorn fruit.
Ladies and gentlemen, the world’s first cocktail! How’s that for one of the coolest alcohol facts to kick things off?
2. A cocktail fit for The Queen
With the zesty taste of botanicals and citrus, we can see why gin is reported to be Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite spirit.
Her other favorite? Dubonnet. A fortified wine apertif from France. Apparently, her signature nightly cocktail is 2 ounces dubonnet, 1 ounce gin, a lemon wedge, and 2 large cubes of ice. Pour yourself one of these and you’ll automatically feel like Royalty.
3. Does this beer taste weird?
The story of India Pale Ale is a funny one. The British, en route to India, tried to preserve their beer for the long journey by pouring in hops, a known preservative at the time.
However, when the hops rested in the beer too long it turned bitter, leaving the signature “hoppy” flavour IPAs are now famous for. Basically, the beer went bad, but they drank it anyway! Or is there not such thing as a bad beer?
4. Big beer lovers in Central Europe
Beer is so refreshing on a hot summer day and it’s the perfect drink to share among friends, but what countries drink the most?
The biggest beer lovers definitely come from Europe. The Czech Republic loves beer more than any other country with the average person drinking 50 gallons (227 litres) per year. Austria is second with 28.5 gallons (130 litres) and Romania is third with 26.5 gallons (120 litres). We just love all of these fun facts about beer!
Here’s a pro tip for you: Don’t challenge a Czech to a drinking contest!
5. Wine lovers in Western Europe
Okay, is it safe to say that Europe might be the booziest continent? Europe was tops in beer consumption and it is the same with wine.
Portugal is the biggest wine drinker worldwide, drinking 12.8 gallons (58 litres) per person per year. France comes in second with 10.3 gallons (47 litres). Italy is third with 9.6 gallons (44 litres)
The only non-European country in the top 10 is Australia. Aussies drink 6.1 gallons (28 litres) of wine per year.
6. Alcohol has a number of uses (and not just getting us drunk)
Of course, alcohol is not only for drinking. Alcohol has many other beneficial uses in the household. Alcohol can be used to disinfect cuts, scrapes and open wounds. It can be dabbed on plant leaves to repel aphids and other pests.
Alcohol is also one of the best stain removers, especially ink. Good to know for the next time a pen explodes on your favorite shirt!
7. The national drink of Japan
Japanese people love their saké, and it is starting to take over the world! This is one of the fast growing drinks in terms of popularity.
The saké brewmasters of Japan are known as Tōji. The fermented rice beverage is made through a brewing process similar to beer, so don’t go calling it ‘rice wine’.
Saké can be drank hot or cold. We prefer it hot on a cold day. And who doesn’t love the tiny cups?
8. There’s a grain for that
All alcohol is produced by the fermentation and distillation of grain. Wheat, corn, rice and rye are the most popular grains used today.
Potatoes are often thought to be used in making vodka, but traditionally, vodkas use cereal grains to create that smooth and distinctive taste. That’s a lot of grain though. We’ll never look at a bowl of cereal the same way again!
9. The hangover is universal
Most of us have been there. A few too many drinks and the next day is an absolute write-off. No wonder there are so many wacky hangover cures.
In Philippines, a duck embryo known as balut will do the trick. In Mongolia, it’s pickled sheep eyeballs in tomato juice. For the ancient Romans, the cure was to eat a deep-fried canary. Yuck! We’re not sure our stomach could handle any of these!
10. A killer cocktail
This is perhaps the most interesting alcohol facts… and the most violent!
The Molotov cocktail was coined during the Winter War as a dig at Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov, who claimed bombs dropped on Finland were actually humanitarian aid.
When the hand-held fire bomb (containing alcohol and petrol) was developed to destroy Soviet tanks, the Finns called it the Molotov cocktail as a “drink to go with his food parcels”.
11. Mead is the bees-knees
Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water. It is one of the oldest known alcohols, first made over 8,000 years ago on the island of Crete.
This means that mead pre-dates the creation of wine. Even the greek word for drunk can be translated to honey-intoxicated. This is definitely one of out favorite fun facts about alcohol!
12. The world of French wine
An astonishing 7-8 billion bottles of wine are produced in France each year! France is the source of many grape varieties now grown throughout the wine regions of the world, including cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, syrah, and chardonnay.
Who to thank for French wine? It was the monks of France who perfected the art of winemaking. We bet this fact will wow everyone at your next dinner party.
13. No drinking allowed
Believe it or not, between the years of 1920 and 1933, there was a constitutional ban on the production and sale of alcohol in the United States.
Prohibition, as it was called, gave rise to bootlegging illegal alcohol, facilitated by notorious gangsters such as Nucky Johnson and Al Capone. It is said Al Capone’s bootlegging enterprise pulled in over $100 million a year. As a comparison, that’s the equivalent of $1.4 billion today. It doesn’t matter if you ban it, people still want to get loaded.
14. Strange brew
In Germany, a purity law states beer must only contain water, malt, yeast, and hops. But experimental brewing is taking place elsewhere.
In Peru, chicha, is a beer made from chewing and spitting out corn into a fermentable mash. Japan’s elephant beer is made with coffee beans that have passed through an elephant’s digestive tract. In the US, oysters are shucked directly into the fermenting tank to create a briny stout. Yeesh! Maybe the Germans were right about this one.
15. Drink to your health
While the detrimental effects of heavy alcohol consumption is well-known, moderate drinking can actually afford you some health benefits. Red wine is known as the ‘healthiest’ alcohol. It is rich in antioxidants that can reduce the risk of heart disease and stop you from catching the common cold.
How about beer’s high silicon content that can increase bone density? This is just another of those interesting facts about alcohol for you!
16. One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, more!
Tequila, the national alcohol of Mexico, is primarily produced in the Jalisco region from the blue weber agave plant.
To be classified as tequila, the spirit must be derived from at least 51% blue agave, though most of the high-end brands use 100%. It was the Teotihuacan civilization in around 150 BC that took the first shots of the liquor. No word if they used a lime chaser!
17. Popping bottles
Here’s one of the most surprising alcohol facts: Champagne was created by accident!
After a record cold winter in France, the wine fermentation process all but stopped. When spring arrived, the stagnant wine began fermenting again.
This produced carbon dioxide giving the wine that signature fizz. These new bottles were thought to be ruined and often exploded on the shelves. Today, 2.5 billion bottles of sparkling wine are produced each year.
18. Alcoholics Anonymous
While alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation as a celebratory and social activity, many people struggle with alcohol addiction.
The most popular avenue for addicts is the program Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) where members share about their struggles with alcohol. AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and has an estimated 1.5 million members in the US today.
Did any of our interesting facts about alcohol put you in the party mood?
If you’ve got any other facts you think we missed, let us know in the comments below and we’ll add it to our alcohol facts!