Alcoholic beverages and fermentation have a long history in human history. It has long been believed that bread and other need for frequent travel caused humanity to transition from hunter-gatherers to a more established culture. Yet, given the discovery of some of the world’s oldest alcohols by archaeologists to date, people are beginning to doubt that.
An increasing amount of evidence is emerging that suggests people settled not for food security but rather for the ability to produce alcohol. It’s all conjecture at this point, but it would make an interesting narrative.
As of right now, scientists have discovered and verified the oldest known alcohol to have originated 9,000 years ago. It’s not quite as old, but it’s still a very good range.
This page discusses some of the other oldest alcohols discovered worldwide in addition to that amazing archaeological find.
9. Ninkasi Beer
Mesopotamia, or what is now southern Iraq, is where Ninkasi Beer originates. In 1800 BCE, a combination of wheat, honey, and malt were used to make it.
Because the recipe for this beer can be found in the Hymn to Ninkasi, it was simple to locate even without samples of the beverage. This goddess was associated with beer, brewing, and alcohol.
8. Beer from Babylonia
It is well known among archaeologists that beer was consumed in Babylonia. The rules governing beer, such as how to produce and consume the alcoholic beverage, are outlined in the Code of Hammurabi.
These laws, which formed the foundation of many legal systems still in place today, were already very remarkable. However, the fact that the first alcohol rules were established about 5,000 years ago is still absurd.
7. Herbal Wines and Beers
The earliest known instance of a herbal wine comes from Egypt. These were 3150 BCE alcoholic drinks derived from fruits and occasionally cereals.
The goal of herbal wines sets them apart from other types of wine. The wine’s added herbs and resins contributed to its increased therapeutic value.
6. Iran’s Beer
Godin Tepe, the oldest beer found so far, is an Iranian brew. All beers contain cereal grains in one way or another, but the oldest known beer used barley grains specifically. This beer has been around since 3400 BCE.
On the other hand, pictographs of Sumerians and other Mesopotamian people suggest that bears of various hues and tones were frequently consumed. However, there hasn’t been any remaining proof of the drinks themselves discovered thus far.
5. Indian Mead
Mead has an extensive past. But that’s not the only fantastic thing about this fermented drink made with honey. It’s becoming more and more popular and is still in use today.
Mead is celebrated throughout Viking history and great stories such as Beowulf. There is evidence of the beverage dating back approximately 6,000 years. However, historians believe mead extends back considerably further than 6,000 years, even though no evidence has been discovered to support this theory to date.
Chicha has been used as a ceremonial beverage since approximately 5000 BCE. The Andes area of South America has significant ceremonial and cultural associations with the drink.
This ceremonial drink’s foundation is maize. People drank chicha in the same way as current culture does coffee, even if it included alcohol.
3. Hajji Firuz Tepe Wine
Iran is where Hajji Firuz Tepe wine first appeared. Traces of red and white wine, together with tree resin used as a preservative, were discovered in jars discovered within the archaeological site. The location is said to have originated between 5400 and 5000 BCE.
This wine was the oldest wine made to date for a very long time. But a different wine rose to the top and became the world’s oldest discovered wine.
2. Georgian Wine
The world’s oldest wine is from Georgia—the nation, not the state. There were jars in the capital city of Tbilisi that held substances related to wine. The jars and their contents are eight thousand years old; the oldest jar is from 5980 BCE.
Georgian wine is the oldest in the world as of right now. According to historians, the practice of cultivating Eurasian grapes exclusively for winemaking originated with the grape plants found in Georgia.
1. Fermented Drinks from China
According to research, the earliest known alcohol originates from China. Jars discovered in China during the early 2000s by a group of archaeologists date to approximately 7000–6600 BCE. They would be 9,000 years old based on this.
A fermented alcoholic beverage made of rice, honey, grapes, and hawthorn fruit was found inside the jars. It was a combination of what we would now recognise as wine, honey mead, and rice beer according to the ingredients.
Highlights of the Oldest Alcohols in the World:
|4,000 years old
|Beer from Babylonia
|5,000 years old
|Herbal Wines and Beers
|5,200 years old
|5,500 years old
|6,000 years old
|7,000 years old
|Hajji Firuz Tepe Wine
|7,500 years old
|8,000 years old
|Fermented Drinks from China
|9,000 years old