From the ancient history of liquor to the modern day liquor market, alcohol has long been an important facet of human history. Spirits appear in nearly every historic tale, whether it’s a Prohibition Era fight for freedom or an ancient method of distillation. Pour yourself a glass of LeSin vodka — best enjoyed neat, just like moonshine — and learn all about the history of liquor.
Ancient History Of Liquor
The history of liquor stretches long before the luxuries of today’s liquor market, where you can buy spirits in any form and flavor. In ancient times, liquor was being distilled all over the world, even before these different cultures knew about each others’ existence. That’s because the process of creating alcohol is as simple as natural fermentation. Whether it was a Babylonian perfumery using distillation to create scents or an alchemist in Alexandria turning water into alcohol, people were catching on to alcohol as early as 1200 BC.
There’s proof of distillation on nearly every continent as early as the 1st century, but it wasn’t until around the 800s or 900s that alcohol really took off. Different cultures were figuring out different ways to create alcohol, resulting in the advent of the liquors we know and love today. Vodka, for instance, was invented in either Poland or Russia — there’s no surefire evidence of who did it first — somewhere between the 8th century and the 14th century. In the 1500s, Russia became the first exporter of vodka, marking the beginning of a whole new life for the liquor.
Interesting side note: though Russia can lay claim to being the first exporter of vodka, France owns the title of best producer of vodka. French vodkas like LeSin use the highest quality ingredients, elevating them a cut above the rest.
While each and every liquor has its own unique history and cultural associations, the history points to one clear truth: humans have been making alcohol, in effect, “forever.” It has caused fights and furies, as well as important deals and unlikely camaraderie, many times since. But perhaps none rivals the American Prohibition in the 1920s.
American History Of Prohibition
With a swath of powerful religious groups campaigning for temperance and communities struggling after the losses of the Civil War, the appeal for prohibition in America was actually quite strong by the 1920s. The Prohibition Party worked alongside the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union throughout the late 1800s to spread the word that alcohol was a sin that led to abuse, poor community values, and poor health.
And it’s possible that the Prohibition Party had a point. American households at the time were drinking 1.7 bottles of hard liquor each week, which amounts to three times the amount we drink today. Some even say that certain illnesses and crime rates lowered during the Prohibition Era — but a lot of other problems were created, too.
When the Eighteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1919, an underground black market of liquor sales was almost instantly created. The amendment prohibited all liquor distillations and sales. Gangs and criminals began using illegal liquor sales to control the streets, and back alley bootlegging rigs sprouted up in secrecy. It’s hard to tell exactly the impact of Prohibition on crime and safety, but it’s generally accepted that the outlawing of alcohol led to more problems than it fixed.
Bootlegged liquor was filled with its own issues, with poor distillation processes and unsanitary equipment leading to lots of funky brews. Although moonshine is a fun drink these days, Prohibition Era moonshine was a vile, overly fragrant drink that really only served to get the drinker drunk. We’re lucky that today, we can enjoy luxurious, smooth drinks like LeSin vodka, which is so enjoyable it can be drunk neat.
In addition to back alley sales, speakeasies became a popular spot to drink in the safe coverage of a darkly lit, smoky room with a nondescript front entrance. Although it’s a dark place in American history because of the crime, secrecy, and derisive political climate, speakeasies became a symbol of American ingenuity, aesthetic, and drinking culture. To this day, cities and towns all over the U.S. have secretive speakeasies — these days complete with liquor licenses, for the most part — where you can drink in the spirit of the Prohibition Era.
At the end of it all, Prohibition did not last. When the Depression ravaged urban dwellers in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the government couldn’t keep a lid on it any longer. Bootlegging became commonplace as Americans turned to alcohol to deal with the destitute conditions of life in a failing economy. The potential tax revenue from alcohol sales, along with intense pressure and protest from anti-Prohibitionists and the lack of a system to police Prohibition, ultimately overcame the amendment.
The Eighteenth Amendment was finally repealed in 1933 with the Twenty-first Amendment. With this came inscrutable laws establishing the government’s control over alcohol.
State Of Liquor Today
At the end of it all, the liquor laws that exist today keep us safe because they provide guidelines that all liquor manufacturers need to follow so we know exactly what we’re drinking.
Of course, depending on the quality of the liquor you choose, this doesn’t need to be an issue. Yes, if you choose the lowest quality vodka then you would have reason to be concerned. But with top shelf French vodka like LeSin or Grey Goose, you can know that you’re drinking the most pristine vodka on the market.