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What Was The First Liquor Ever Made? (2024 Best Edition)

What Was The First Liquor Ever Made

Last Updated on March 28, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Alcoholic beverages were a staple in much of humanity’s history, from the Ancient Greeks imbibing wine during celebrations to the more recent history when soldiers partook in them during the war. What was the first liquor ever made?

Sit back and grab your favorite contemporary liquor as we take a trip down memory lane. 

What’s the First Liquor Ever? 

Liquor on desk, What was the first liquor ever made?

The truth is, no one knows when the first liquor came about or what the first liquor produced was.

Jugs unearthed from the Stone Age suggest that our ancestors were already fermenting beverages intentionally, dating back to 10,000 BCE. 

It’s also worth noting that the fermentation process occurs naturally, and our ancestors may have been collecting berries and storing them until they began to ferment.

Primates, birds, and other animals may have also accidentally got “drunk” by partaking in overripe fruits and berries. 

Read: Percentage of Americans That Drink Alcohol

Some of the Oldest Liquors Made 

Some of the Oldest Liquors Made 

Chinese Fermented Wine

The oldest fermented drink we have on record is the Chinese fermented wine, made from rice, honey, hawthorn fruit, and grape.

The residues of the beverage, found in Neolithic jars from Jiahu, Northern China, are said to date back 7000 to 6600 BCE and were discovered by researchers working for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 

The study, named Fermented Beverages of Pre- and Proto-historic China, was released in 2004. Find out what’s the most sober country here

Barley Beer

Barley Beer on table

The earliest confirmed beer was found in the Godin Tepe in the Zagros Mountains, Iran. The residues inside the jug were said to date 3400 to 3000 BCE. 

It is unclear as to what exact type of beer was inside the jug, but the supply room where the jug was found had barley in it — probably grown locally and used in the brewing.

Furthermore, the jug had a yellowish tint on its grooves that turned out to be calcium oxalate, otherwise known as beerstone — a known byproduct of brewing with barley. [1

The early Mesopotamians were also famous for being big beer lovers — they enjoyed different varieties, including light, dark, amber, and specially filtered beers. Find out which age group consumes the most alcohol here

Georgian Wine

It’s no secret that the Georgians love grapes, and there is evidence that the wooded hillsides in the Gadachrili Gora, about 20 miles south of Tbilisi, were once decked with grapevines. 

A team of archaeologists had discovered what exactly they were using all those grapes for: winemaking.

Tartaric acid was found in many of their jars, a known chemical byproduct of wine residue. [2] The same jars were adorned with grape decorations, and ample grape pollen was found in the site’s fine soil. 

The Neolithic people may have been producing wine on a large scale and transporting it to the nearby village when it was ready to drink. 

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Chicha is a prominent alcoholic drink in modern Latin America, but did you know that it has been around for over 6000 years?

This fermented beverage was (and is still) made from maize, and archaeologists discovered pottery dating back to around 5000 BCE that was used to make and store the drink. 

Chicha was a sacred drink offered to gods and ancestors. Mummies of previous kings were bathed in maize flour and presented with chicha offerings, and human sacrifices were first dredged and rubbed with chicha before the official ceremony. 

Cacao Wine

With cacao in its name, you would be right to assume that this fermented drink has something to do with chocolates. It is said that the cacao seeds were used for cacao wine — more specifically, the sweet pulp surrounding it.

The residues, which tested positive for theobromine, were found from pottery vessels obtained from Puerto Escondido, or what is now known as Honduras. Theobromine is a chemical compound found only in cacao. 

Cacao was a hot commodity amongst the Aztecs and was often found on social and ritual occasions. If you were in possession of a lot of cacao, you were considered wealthy. Cacao beans were even used as currency. 

Read: How Much Alcohol Does An Average American Drink?

Brief Alcohol History Timeline

Brief Alcohol History Timeline
  • 8000 BC – A fermented drink made from wild yeast and honey is allegedly produced in the Middle East.
  • 7000 BC – Evidence of early alcoholic drink in China. 
  • 3000 to 2000 BC – An alcoholic beverage called Sura was distilled in India.
  • 2700 BC – Babylonians worshipped a wine goddess. 
  • 16th Century – Spirits were largely used for medicinal purposes. 
  • 18th Century – The British parliament passed a law encouraging the use of grains for distilling spirits. 
  • 19th Century – The Temperance Movement began promoting the use of alcohol. 
  • 1920 – The US passed a law prohibiting the manufacture, import, export, and sale of intoxicating liquors. 
  • 1933 – Prohibition of alcohol was canceled. 
  • 1930s to 1980s – US consumption of alcoholic beverages increased gradually.
  • 20th Century – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was formed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the oldest hard liquor?

The oldest hard liquor was possibly brandy (not that it was called that at the time). Abu Musa Jabir, an Arabic alchemist, designed the first alembic pot still in the 8th century, which was one of the first pot stills to distill wine effectively.

He didn’t do so for recreational purposes, though — the first hard liquor was used for medicinal purposes. 

What is the rarest liquor?

Probably the rarest liquor is The Dalmore 50, of which there are only 50 bottles.

It was distilled in 1966 to commemorate Master Distiller Richard Paterson’s 50 years in the whiskey industry. Each bottle costs around $60,000. 

What was the first alcohol in history?

The exact identification of the first alcohol in history is challenging, but evidence suggests that early humans likely stumbled upon fermented beverages accidentally. Fruits, grains, or honey left exposed to the elements could have undergone natural fermentation, creating a primitive form of alcoholic drink.

What was the first liqueur?

The first liqueur in history is often attributed to monks in medieval Europe who developed herbal and botanical-infused spirits for medicinal purposes. Chartreuse, created by Carthusian monks in the 18th century, is one of the earliest known liqueurs and continues to be produced today.

When did humans start making liquor?

Humans began making liquor thousands of years ago, with the exact timeline difficult to pinpoint. Evidence from archaeological findings suggests that early civilizations, including those in Mesopotamia, China, and ancient Egypt, were involved in the production of fermented beverages as early as 7000-6600 BCE.

Who made alcohol first?

Determining who made alcohol first is a complex task due to its accidental discovery in various cultures. Mesopotamia, known for its advanced agricultural practices, is often credited as one of the earliest regions where fermentation techniques were developed around 2000 BCE. However, different civilizations independently discovered and refined the art of making alcoholic beverages, making it challenging to attribute the invention of alcohol to a single individual or culture. The process likely evolved over time as a result of experimentation and observation, laying the foundation for the diverse world of alcoholic beverages we know today.

Who made the first liquor?

The exact individual or culture that made the first liquor remains unknown, as the discovery of fermented beverages likely occurred independently in various ancient civilizations due to the accidental fermentation of fruits, grains, or honey left exposed to the elements.

Who invented whiskey?

The invention of whiskey is often attributed to Irish and Scottish monks who distilled spirits for medicinal purposes during the medieval period, with written records dating back to the 15th century. The refinement of distillation techniques over time led to the distinct production of whiskey in Ireland and Scotland.

What did Vikings drink?

Vikings consumed a variety of alcoholic beverages, with mead being a prominent choice. Made from fermented honey, water, and sometimes infused with spices or fruits, mead was a sweet and potent drink enjoyed during feasts and celebrations. Additionally, Vikings brewed ale and other fermented beverages from grains, showcasing their diverse and resourceful drinking culture.

When was gin invented?

Gin was invented in the 17th century, gaining popularity in the Netherlands. Initially known as “genever,” it was created as a medicinal tonic using distilled malt wine and juniper berries. The spirit evolved over time, and by the 18th century, London became synonymous with the production of gin. The introduction of botanicals, such as coriander and citrus peel, contributed to the distinctive flavor profile of modern gin.

What alcohol has no smell?

Pure ethanol, or grain alcohol, is one of the few types of alcohol that has a relatively neutral odor, making it nearly scentless. However, most commercial alcoholic beverages, even those with high ethanol content, have distinct aromas derived from additional compounds present in the drink.

What is gin made from originally?

Originally, gin was made from distilled malt wine and flavored with juniper berries. Developed in the Netherlands in the 17th century, this spirit, initially known as “genever,” laid the foundation for the modern gin we know today. Over time, the production process evolved, incorporating botanicals such as coriander, citrus peel, and other herbs to enhance the flavor profile.

Why is liquor called spirits?

The term “spirits” for liquor originates from historical and alchemical traditions. In ancient beliefs, distilled alcohol was considered a concentrated essence or spirit extracted from the base ingredients. The term reflects the alchemical notion that the distillation process captured the essence or spirit of the original substance, resulting in a more potent and refined product.

What was the first time alcohol was mentioned in the Bible?

The first mention of alcohol in the Bible can be found in the book of Genesis. Noah, after surviving the Great Flood, planted a vineyard, made wine, and became intoxicated. This episode is recounted in Genesis 9:20-21, marking an early biblical reference to the consumption of alcohol and its effects. Subsequent biblical passages address the cultural, ceremonial, and sometimes cautionary aspects of alcohol consumption in various contexts throughout the scriptures.

So, What was the first liquor ever made?

Liquor has a long line in history, dating back thousands of years.

Of course, no one knows what the first alcohol produced was or when it was first produced — just that our ancestors have been fermenting it for a long time, whether for religious, social, or spiritual use. 

Some of the oldest liquors include the Chinese fermented wine, made from rice, honey, hawthorn fruit, and grape; cacao wine, made from fermenting the fleshy pulp surrounding the cacao seed; and the oldest produced beer from Iran, said to have been made from fermenting barley. 

Today, liquor is a prominent figure in many fun gatherings and social occasions and is said to bring people closer together. 


  1. Tartaric Acid
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