Drinking alcohol is part of most cultures today and it is considered quite common on many occasions. In most of the countries it is completely legal for adults to drink alcohol and many of them enjoy a glass or two. Drinking alcohol is a very important part of our social lives and we drink alcohol on many occasions. Alcohol was there for our ancestors, it is here for us too. Most of the customs and the habits of drinking alcohol have changed, but the essence is the same. For example, production and sale of alcoholic beverages today is defined by laws and the rules are very strict, while in the past, especially the more distant past, most of the alcoholic beverages were homemade and the drinking was not defined or restricted by any law. Some countries in the world prohibit the use of alcohol because of the religious beliefs of the minority and most of the countries restrict it to objects such as bars, restaurants and homes and prohibit the public use of alcohol. Alcohol was once banned in the United States and that period is known as prohibition.
Few words on alcoholic beverages
Usually we divide the alcoholic drinks into three categories: beer, wine and spirit. In most countries you can legally drink an alcoholic beverage from any of these categories when you are 18 years old, although some have specific rules about specific kinds of alcohol. Alcohol is considered to be a psychoactive substance and it can have a depressive effect. Even though this effect is the most damaging one, paradoxically it is what makes alcohol as popular as it is. Most alcoholic beverages are produced by sugar fermentation and the stronger ones, the ones with a larger percentage of alcohol, are made by distillation, a process which is conducted after the process of sugar fermentation.
Beer is probably the oldest alcoholic drink and it is considered to be the most popular one, as well. It is the most consumed alcoholic drink of all and it is more popular than many non-alcoholic drinks. The main process of the production of beer is called brewing and it involves the fermentation of the sugars that are contained in many cereal grains. Beer is commonly produced from malted barley, although corn and rise beers are often made too. Besides its popularity throughout the world, beer is considered to be the national drink in many Northern and Central European countries, such as Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic and few others. Generally speaking, beers are divided in two categories, lager beers and ale beers. Beers are usually flavored with hops, or other plants that would create a unique taste. Most beers have an alcohol percentage in the area of 4-6% of alcohol by volume (ABV), although they can be much weaker (even as low as 1% ABV), or much stronger (12% ABV).
Wine is another very popular alcoholic beverage. It is usually made from grapes and fruit wines can be made from different types of fruits such as plums, or cherries. Although wine is produced by fermentation of the sugar in the grapes, the process of aging is probably more important than the process of fermentation. Wines usually have a percentage of alcohol that varies from 9 to 16%.
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