Alcoholic drinks are among the most popular beverages all over the world.
This is especially true with beer which is the most consumed alcoholic beverage. Overall, beer is the third most popular drink. That says a lot considering the fact that number 1 is water and number 2 is tea.
This popularity is the reason why a lot of people are looking to make alcohol at home.
What is Alcohol?
There are several types of alcohols but for the purpose of this guide, we’ll talk about ethanol – the alcohol that’s used in alcoholic beverages. Even with the several types of alcohol, the term is now more commonly used to refer to alcoholic beverages. In it’s purest form, it’s a colorless liquid that can vaporize or catch flame. It’s also considered a drug that impacts brain function since it’s a psychoactive drug. It also has the distinction of being one of the oldest drugs that are taken recreationally.
If you want to know the history of alcohol, we have to go way back. Alcoholic beverages were drunk as early as the New Stone Age and a 9,000 year old pottery found with traces of alcohol is proof of it. Distillation was done by the Greeks as early as first century AD. A clearer proof of distillation happened at the School of Salerno in the 12th century.
Several developments happened later on as interest for ethanol skyrocketed. Johann Tobias Lowitz was able to derive pure ethanol with the use of activated charcoal. This happened in 1796. Nicolas-Théodore de Saussure, a Swiss chemist, was able to pin down the exact chemical formula in 1808. Archibald Scott Couper followed on this in 1858 when he made public the structural formula of ethanol.
Laws regarding alcohol vary by state. For example, alcohol can only be sold from 7 am to 2 am in Colorado while it’s up to 3 am in Indiana. However, you have to be 21 in order to legally consume alcohol if you’re in the US. This is not the case in other countries. For example, the legal age is 18 in most African and South American countries. On the other hand, there are countries like Saudi Arabia where alcohol is illegal.
It’s also illegal to drive in most countries if you’re under the influence of alcohol.
What Slang Names Is Alcohol Known As?
Due to its popularity and notoriety, there are several slang names for it. Here are the most popular ones:
- Booze (Most popular slang)
- Do it fluid
- Fire water (Slang for the stronger alcoholic beverages like Whiskey)
- Hooch (Often used for homemade alcohol)
- Yak (Cognac)
- 40 (Refers to beverages in 40 oz bottles)
What Effects Does Alcohol Have?
Being a psychoactive drug, it has a direct effect over the central nervous system – especially the brain. Taken in small dosages, it’s considered to be completely harmless except if you are allergic. Some health experts are even saying that alcohol every now and then is healthy especially if it’s red wine or a glass of beer. It’s also known as a confidence-booster. This is why alcoholic drinks are consumed at bars. A shot or two can help give you the confidence to approach the lady that you’re eyeing. This is why it also has a slang name of “Do it fluid”.
Moderate drinking can also help you calm down. This is because it’s also considered as a downer like barbiturates. Moderate drinking can also help you sleep.
It’s recommended that you follow the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans when it comes to consumption. This means a drink a day for women and a couple of drinks for men. However, you probably know that this is easier said than done. A notorious effect of alcohol is addiction and this can open a floodgate for potential problems like the following:
- Liver cirrhosis
- Brain damage
- Accidents like car crashes
- Beer belly
- Birth defects if you are drinking while pregnant
- Sexual dysfunction
- Bad breath
Who Makes Alcohol?
We’re all familiar with the big alcohol companies like Belgium’s Anheuser Busch-InBev which is the world’s largest alcohol company. In addition, there’s Companhia de Bebidas das Américas of Brazil and Heineken of the Netherlands.
However, there are also countless of smaller manufacturers. Usually, they focus on a specific type of alcoholic drink. For example, there are countless of basement breweries that make beer and lagers. There’s also the wineries that have acres of grapes planted for the production of wine. Alcohol-making is a fairly simple process that involves ingredients and equipment that you can easily procure. This is why it’s also made by hobbyists. If you have a basement or a spare room, you can make alcohol.
Where is Alcohol Made?
When it comes to production, the USA and Brazil leads the world. As of 2010, the two countries account for 87.8% of the world’s ethanol production. However, that number is expected to change soon since countries like India, Thailand, China, Colombia and France are following suit.
When talking about mass production, it’s made in huge factories. However, there are also the smaller distilleries, wineries and the likes. But if you know how to make alcohol, then you know that you can easily make it at home.
What is Alcohol Made From?
Here are the basic ingredients:
Crops or plants that have a high amount of sugar (sugar cane, wheat, barlet, etc.)
How is Alcohol Made?
Fermentation is the major process involved in making alcohol. Fermentation is when the yeast breaks down the sugars in your chosen crop or plant and converts it into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide will eventually bubble out, leaving you with alcohol and water. As you can probably imagine, it involves a lot of waiting. However, you have to be careful about preventing the presence of air. You’ll end up with something that’s more vinegar than alcohol.
There are also additional steps depending on the type of beverage that you want. For example, there’s the malting process if you want beer or distillation for spirits. There’s also the aging process for wines.
What Does Alcohol Look Like?
In it’s purest form, it’s in the form of colorless liquid. Of course, the appearance will also depend on the final product. Beer is generally copper-colored with foam while spirits are usually golden in color.
What is a Standard Dose Of Alcohol?
It depends on the alcoholic beverage. This is because these beverages have different alcohol by volume (ABV) values. Here is a general list:
Beer – 4 – 6%
Wine – 9 – 16%
Spirits – At least 20%
In addition to the ABV, there’s also the standard serving sizes. Beer is generally served on a 285ml glass while wine is served on a 100ml wine glass. On the other hand, spirit is served in a 200ml glass. They are considered as single servings.
How is Alcohol Taken?
It’s taken orally by drinking. However, people have found new and more exciting ways to take it in the form of accessories or drinking games. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Yard of ale
Where is Alcohol Taken?
Alcohol is taken everywhere. It’s taken in pubs and bars. It’s taken in parties. It’s also taken at home alone or with friends. It’s sometimes even taken outside. It’s taken all over the world, even where it’s banned. This says a lot about the popularity of alcohol and it’s understandable why a lot of people want to learn how to make alcohol at home.