Alcohol

Both beer and wine are thought to predate distilled spirits.

Ask Smithsonian

'Which Came First: Beer or Wine?' and More Questions From Our Readers

You've got questions. We've got experts

This month's book picks include The Engagement, How the Word Is Passed and Drunk.

Books of the Month

The Fight to Legalize Gay Marriage, the Woman Who Couldn't Be Silenced and Other New Books to Read

These June releases elevate overlooked stories and offer insights on oft-discussed topics

Three women dressed in period garb as alewives. The tall hats became a part of witch iconography.

Why Did Women Stop Dominating the Beer Industry?

Strict gender norms pushed them out of a centuries-long tradition

The brewery “may have been built specifically to supply the royal rituals that were taking place inside the funeral facilities of the kings of Egypt,” says lead archaeologist Matthew Adams.

Cool Finds

World's Oldest 'Industrial-Scale' Brewery Found in Egypt

Located in an ancient necropolis, the 5,000-year-old facility was capable of producing up to 5,900 gallons of beer at a time

Two filmmakers launched a nationwide fundraiser to help save the surviving bars.

LGBTQ+ Pride

The Rise and Fall of America's Lesbian Bars

Only 15 nightlife spaces dedicated to queer and gay women remain in the United States

It may seem a little absurd, but wildlife getting drunk off of fermenting fruits isn't a rare occurrence. Bats, moose and birds are known to consume copious amounts of fermented fruits.

Watch This Backyard Squirrel Get a Little Tipsy on Fermented Pears

A Minnesota resident captured a video of the bushy-tailed rodent's drunken smorgasbord

Canned cocktails are a craze again.

The Intoxicating History of the Canned Cocktail

Since the 1890s, the premade cocktail has flip-flopped from novelty item to kitschy commodity—but the pandemic has sales surging

Archaeologists discovered a Roman coin and remnants of an ancient pub while renovating this extension of the Virgin Mary Assumption Church, known as Old Town Hall, in the Slovakian town of Spišské Vlachy.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth Remnants of 18th-Century Pub in Slovakia

The team found a rare Roman coin, wall graffiti and ceramic fragments underneath the tiny village's town hall

A bottle of whiskey, a diving helmet and bricks recovered from the wreck of the SS Politician, which sank off the coast of Scotland in 1941.

Cool Finds

Whiskey Salvaged From 79-Year-Old Scottish Shipwreck Is Up for Sale

A commercial diver recovered the intact bottle of spirits—which is no longer safe for consumption—in 1987

A "wine window" in Florence

Covid-19

Centuries-Old 'Wine Windows' Open for Business in Florence

A low-risk alternative to curbside pickup, the portals may have helped fight an outbreak of bubonic plague in the 1630s

Bellini at Harry's Bar in Venice

Virtual Travel

Make These Eight Famous Cocktails From Bars Around the World

They might taste sweeter when you know the history behind them

For Papazian, the labor of brewing makes the result all the more enjoyable. “The best beer in the world,” he likes to say, “is the one you brewed.”

The Schoolteacher Who Sparked America's Craft Brew Revolution

Here's a toast to Charlie Papazian, the beer pioneer who blazed the way for thousands of brewers today

Elephants are missing a gene to digest alcohol, which might mean they probably can't handle their liquor.

New Research

Despite Folklore, Elephants Might Be Lightweights When It Comes to Booze

New study finds elephants lack a genetic mutation that allows humans to efficiently break down alcohol

The Leith glass factory's cone-shaped furnaces appear in the background of painter William Reed's Leith Races.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth Remnants of Lost Scottish Wine-Bottle Glass Factory

The 18th-century Edinburgh factory once produced a million bottles a week

Green patches of Nana Estate Winery in the arid desert.

Why Wines From Israel's Negev Desert May Represent the Future of Viticulture

Overcoming scorching heat and little rain, experimental vineyards teach winemakers to cope with climate change

Hundreds of neatly piled beer bottles unearthed at the site of a long-gone inn in Leeds

Cool Finds

Archaeologists in Leeds Unearth 600 Lead-Spiked, 19th-Century Beer Bottles

The liquid inside is 3 percent alcohol by volume—and contains 0.13 milligrams of lead per liter

Sara Cartelli fills bottles with a hand sanitizer at the Claremont Distillery during the coronavirus pandemic on March 20, 2020 in Fairfield, New Jersey. Distillery owner Tim Koether will offer it to the general public for free.

Covid-19

Distilleries Around the U.S. Shift Production to Hand Sanitizer

Some distilleries are donating their new product to local communities in need

A very sad before and after

This Ten-Foot-Tall Bottle of Wine Seemed Like a Great Idea—Until It Started Leaking

Firefighters in Austria worked for three hours to prevent 1,590 liters of Zweigelt from flooding a local restaurant

By the end of Prohibition, distilled spirits made up more than 75 percent of alcohol sales.

The Modern Craft Cocktail Movement Got Its Start During Prohibition

Something needed to be done to mask the taste of bootleg alcohol that could include ingredients ranging from dead rats to wood tar

Co-founder Rino Dubokovic says his intention is not to glorify alcoholism, but to represent the experience of sharing light-hearted, boozy stories with friends.

Croatia's Museum of Hangovers Is an Ode to Boozy Shenanigans

But critics have raised concerns that the museum makes light of alcohol abuse