Whiskey is such a common drink today that if you’d ask almost anyone what it is, they’d tell you right away. But, it hasn’t always been like that. The history of whiskey is quite an extraordinary story, and once you get to know it, you will appreciate that drink in your glass a lot more.
As you already know, in order to make whiskey you need to master the distillation process first. However, this process was not initially meant for making whiskey. It was first used by ancient Egyptians for making perfumes. The first ever recording of distillation was found in the ancient Mesopotamia and Babylonia hundreds or years before Christ.
Since the technology was very primitive and war was constantly waged, there was no reliable way of storing information or passing it to the next generation. So, after these civilizations lost power, the ancient techniques of distillation were lost. The only people who knew about it or used it regularly were monks.
This created a huge gap in distillation progress since it was only used by a small group of people who used the process to create several different types of beverages.
History of whiskey
As the power of nations shifted constantly, the people had to either migrate or die. So, once the Romans started taking over the world, the Christian monks who held the knowledge of distillation had to move north. The place where they felt safe and ready to settle was the area where today’s Scotland and Ireland lie.
Since it was such a wasteland, demolished by storms, harsh weather conditions, and cold, people had no other alternative than to make beer from the only herb they had – Barley.
Barley wasn’t domesticated enough so they couldn’t have used large quantities of it for the production of alcohol. The only reasonable thing to do was to make beer out of it. However, after hundreds of years, it started yielding much better harvests, and that’s where it all began.
The first whiskey was produced somewhere between 11th and 13th century by Christian Monks, but only much later was it mass produced.
Whiskey taking over the world
In the beginning, it wasn’t as good tasting as it is today. They still had to perfect this amazing drink. At that time, wine was the elite beverage, and most noblemen drank it. France was the primary distributor of wine and most people from Ireland and Scotland imported Cognac from it. However, wine was hit hard by pest, and nearly fifty percent of all wine was destroyed. Then, Frenchmen decided they don’t have enough for everybody and cut Scotland and Ireland off.
These countries then started mass producing Whiskey and since they had no place to store it one Scotsman had the idea of storing the whiskey in the already empty casks where Cognac used to be. Only later they realized that the idea this young lad had was actually genius. The whiskey blended with the aroma of cognac and created an ultimate drink.
With the progressing industrialization and mass production of glass bottles, whiskey was ready to take over the world. And as history is our witness, it indeed has.