Alcohol in one form or another has been the drink of choice since the dawn of civilization. Back in Greek and Roman times there was Bacchus, the god of wine. Then came Pan, the goat shaped figure who represented the male libido and alcohol. And why not? They both really go together.
It’s interesting how the various alcoholic drinks are made. Beer is brewed by assembling various ingredients like barley and hops into a liquid. The liquid is placed in giant tanks where it ferments. Yeast is added to help the process.
Wine is made in a similar fashion, only the grapes are crushed into a liquid that ferments. The sugar keeps the wine from turning into brandy. The more sugar, the less alcohol. Sherry is super strong or “fortified” wine. It has had alcohol added to it. Brandy is distilled in copper pots instead of being fermented. If the brandy from the Cognac area of France then it’s called Cognac.
Whiskey is made from corn and is distilled rather than being brewed. It’s made with corn because that’s what the American settlers had the most of. Scotch, on the other hand, is made from barley that has been smoked over a peat fire. Scotch only comes from Scotland and nowhere else.
Then there are the distilled spirits such as gin and Absinthe, that are made from grain alcohol and herbs. Gin has a number of herbs in it is juniper, while Absinthe contains wormwood, a herb that is so bitter that just being in a room with it can make you cough.
There are other uses for different types of alcohol other than drinking. There is rubbing alcohol that is made from isopropyl alcohol and jet fuel that is made from ethyl alcohol. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch,
“The alcohol that people drink comes from yeast. If you take yeast cells and give them a source of sugar or starch, they will eat it. The yeast will produce both alcohol and carbon dioxide as its waste products. If you crush grapes to make grape juice and add yeast, for example, the yeast will eat the sugar in the grape juice and start making alcohol. It is natural for grape juice to turn into wine.”
“You can do the same kind of thing with just about any sugar or starch, including barley (the starting point for beer), corn (the starting point for whiskey), molasses (the starting point for rum) and so on. Add water and yeast and you get alcohol. Yeast eventually create so much alcohol that they kill themselves off, and the limit is about 13 percent alcohol.”