Never did I realize when I sipped my Chilean wine with the spaghetti and meatballs dinner I cooked for my Italian stallion husband in our apartment in Beijing, that I had the Chinese to thank for the libation. And I do.
9,000-year-old bottles and shards were unearthed in Jiahu, China
Monday, Dec. 13, 2004
China has long prided itself on having come up with many of the world's most important inventions. Now the country that gave us gunpowder, paper money and the noodle can claim responsibility for another of human civilization's highest achievements: we have the Chinese, or at least their distant ancestors, to thank for cocktails. According to a report released last week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S., residents of the Neolithic village of Jiahu in Henan province were raising toasts with fruit wines and rice spirits in 7000 B.C.usurping Iran's first place in the tipple timeline by at least a thousand years.
Chinese probably concocted the drinks, using rice, hawthorn fruits, wild grapes and honey, for religious libations. According to Zhang Juzhong, an archeologist at the University of Science and Technology of China, who discovered the shards, Jiahu's residents,who also made the world's earliest known musical instruments,"probably drank the wine to numb their minds and to help them commune with the divine." And given Chinese ingenuity, that probably wasn't all.
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