5 Weird Things Humans do to Make a Better Beverage
Humans do amazing things
We humans have done some really odd things to attempt to improve a drink. Downright weird, odd, and disgusting drinks.
To be fair, a lot of the things we have done are amazing. We've been to the bottom of the ocean and the tops of mountains. We have learned to ride in large metal birds. We shoot people in rockets towards a grey rock in the sky, and then figure out how to get them back. We've done some amazing things in the name of progress and exploration. But think about how dangerous these things are. Marie Curie died of radiation poisoning, as a result of her experiments. Isn't just a little odd that we would leave the not-at-all dangerous ground to see just how close we can fly to the sun, despite the peril?
Sometimes, humans just do things because we can, without a good reason. No other species in the world has seen just how long you can grow your fingernails.
Over the course of human history, we've discovered some very unique ways to make your drink better. Most of them are odd. A few of them are brilliant. Some of them are downright disgusting.
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or Eiswein, traditionally
Ice wine is originally thought to have started around Roman times, but the technique was eventually lost. The closest "modern" time Ice wines were believed to have been made in Germany in the late 1700s. Growers noticed that the frozen grapes smelled very sweet, and decided to try to extract the sugars from the frozen grapes.
Ice wine quickly became some of the most sought after wine, for its incredible ability to get women to take off clothes. Also, it is very sweet.
Generally, frozen things can't be eaten. In this case, the water freezes, but the liquid sugars do not. This allows the sugars to be extracted fairly easily, made into wine, and bottled.
Canada is now one of the biggest makers of Ice Wine.
For a fun experiment, try freezing some grapes in your freezer and then eating them. Come back and let me know how it goes.
Letting food go bad then making it into a drink
Also known as Fermentation
Fermentation is the process that turns ordinary grapes into liquid sex appeal. If it weren't for fermentation, half of the bad decisions in the world wouldn't have happened. Consequently, only about 3.5 billion people would be alive today instead of 7 billion.
But how did fermentation come about? Louis Pasteur discovered the process of fermentation, but beer and wine were being made long before he figured out the scientific nuts and bolts of it.
It is thought that barley was the first fermented grains, in the making of beer. According to this hypothesis beer was made in a series of accidental steps.
And thanks goodness for that. Not only for the beers, wines, and spirits we enjoy today, but also due to the fact that barley-fermented drinks were much more nutritious than only bread. These drinks also helped pass the time while we waited in caves for passing Tyrannosaurus rex (I kid!).
For better coffee!
That big ugly rat on the right is an Asian Palm Civet, or Luwak. He really likes eating coffee cherries. But the bean inside isn't digested. It comes out looking like a 100 Grand candy bar.
And people collect this. Thankfully, they clean the beans. Then the beans get roasted into some of smoothest and most expensive coffee made today.
Okay, so every industry has some odd-ball unique product that's better than everyone else, right?
Nope, civet coffee isn't unique. They have elephants eating coffee beans as well.
...but That's Not the Only Weird Drink Made with Poop!
All about Korean Ttongsul also known as "feces wine"
According to Rocketnews 24 the Koreans have a drink made with medicinal herbs, cat bones, and human feces.
The process of making it is very hush-hush, almost like a drug deal going down. The man who made it said it's difficult to make, but possible, in your own home.
According to tastes tests (because they did taste it!) it isn't too bad, and doesn't taste anything like human excrement. So there's that.
It's kind of a gross when your tag line is "Doesn't taste anything like poop!"
Letting grapes grow fungus - with Noble Rot
Noble Rot, much like Ice Wine, is known to make wines sweeter. Growers infect certain grapes with this fungus and allow it to grow. Well known sweet wines like sauternes and Tokaji Aszu are made with noble rot.
This is a fungus people. It's like growing a mushroom on grapes. And then taking the juices, fermenting them, and drinking them.
I've seen bread grow fungus. I never thought it would be a good idea to try to eat the bread after it has turned green, but apparently someone thought "Hey, why not?" when it came to grapes.
and extracts of animal liquids
I am not sure where to start with this one. Who's idea was it to put bugs in drinks? Who later expanded this to include snakes, scorpions, and bugs in general?
These are things that humans generally AVOID.
As it turns out, it appears the origination of this is fairly new. The "worm" in the tequila is actually a butterfly larvae that infest in the agave plant. Having a worm in the bottle was a sign of a lower quality beverage. In the 1940s, an entrepreneur came up with an idea that all bottles should have a worm.
Others have taken this to extremes, and now we have snake wine and scorpion whiskey. Gee, thanks!
Why stop there? Red Bull started including Taurine. Notice the start of the word "Taur." Similar to Taurus, right? That's because Taurine was first isolated in bull bile. Yum. Now companies like Monster Energy and Rockstar put it in there too.