2700 year old wine press found by archeologist in Khani, governorate Duhok
A team of Italian archaeologists found the wine press while exploring ruins connected to the legendary Neo-Assyrian Empire.
Is this one of the oldest recorded sites of alcohol making?
Evidence of alcoholic beverages has also been found dating from 5400–5000 BC in Hajji Firuz Tepe in Iran, 3150 BC in ancient Egypt, 3000 BC in Babylon, 2000 BC in pre-Hispanic Mexico, and 1500 BC in Sudan. According to Guinness, the earliest firm evidence of wine production dates back to 6000 BC in Georgia.
The Assyrian Love of Wine
Being one of the world’s earliest empires, the Assyrian state once ruled over a very large region that included all modern Iraq, parts of Iran, Kuwait, Syria, and Turkey. The empire was ruled by a class of wealthy elites with sophisticated tastes and decoded Assyrian writings which suggest a passion for high-quality wine.
It is known that in the late Assyrian period, between the 8th and the 7th century BC, there was a dramatic increase in wine demand and in wine production.
In addition to enjoying it for its flavor, Assyrian royalty and aristocrats apparently made use of wine in their ceremonial practices. The Assyrians were polytheistic to the extreme, meaning they had many different gods they needed to honor in order to assure the continued prosperity of their empire.
Previous studies of botanical remains in the region show that the size of local vineyards increased in the seventh and eighth centuries BC. This would be consistent with the rising demand for wine among the more exalted social classes.
Making Wine Inside a Mountain
Until now, Khanis has been best known for the large, striking rock reliefs that were carved into bluff faces overlooking the River Gomel Su. The elaborate rock images show Assyrian kings in prayer to their gods, and also feature carvings of various types of animals.
The reliefs were created to celebrate the construction of an interlocking system of canals, which were built in the early seventh century BC. The canals supplied water to Assyrian citizens in the empire’s capital city of Nineveh 30 miles (50 km) away, and to those living in other parts of modern-day northern Iraq as well.
Like the reliefs that have brought Khanis so much attention, the winepress was also carved into the mountainside. Inside square-shaped artificial caves, laborers would crush piles of grapes beneath their feet, after which the grape juice would run out through drains into collecting basins carved into the rock face at lower levels. The grape juice would be scooped out into large jars and relocated to storage areas to ferment.
Overall, the wine press at Khanis included 14 separate installations and was extensive enough to produce prodigious quantities of wine after every harvesting season. The Italian researchers believe they may have uncovered the oldest industrial wine operation ever constructed in that part of the world, or possibly in any part of the world. It is just the second such wine press discovered in the Middle East, and as of now nothing similar has been found anywhere else.
What is too much alcohol and what leads to alcohol poisoning?
We hope you enjoy alcohol in moderation and really enjoy it for the tradition it has, the rituals it comes with and the social settings it may provide. However, in difficult times the mind is tempted to find an easy way out of its current state by using mind-altering substances. Alcohol is being one of them. The consumption of alcohol can raise your mood, help you forget your problems, make you more social, and have some other short-term (benefits) on a mental and social level. But do not forget, your problems are not gone the day after you had a drink. The causes that made you drink more than you had actually planned are not washed away. We would like to give you some guidelines to prevent you from having too much.
Alcohol is, compared to food, absorbed very quickly by the body BUT it takes a lot more time to remove the alcohol from your system. The processing of alcohol happens through your liver which can only handle a certain amount that takes a certain amount of time. When you keep drinking for an extended period of time at a pace that your liver can not keep up with you are running the risk of alcohol poisoning.
What is too much?
We first shall differentiate between heavy drinking and binge drinking. Heavy drinking occurs over a longer time span and is defined as follows: having 15 or more drinks per week for men and 8 drinks or more per week for women.
Binge drinking is defined as a rate of drinking that raises a person’s blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08% or more. For men, this happens when having 5 or more drinks within about 2 hours. For women, this can occur when 4 or more drinks over the same amount of time are consumed.
As a general rule of thumb, you can remember that the more you drink in a short period of time the more likely you will outpace your liver and you can run into alcohol poisoning.
An average male which is defined at 75Kg of average body composition should avoid drinking more than 2 drinks per hour and should not drink more than 6 drinks per night.
An Average female which is defined at 58 Kg of average body composition should avoid drinking more than 1.5 drinks per hour and not drink more than 4.5 drinks per night.
Now let’s define what is a drink or one drink: how much alcohol is in your drink? One standard drink usually has about 14 grams (or 0.6 ounces) of pure alcohol. This amount of pure alcohol is generally found in 350 ml of beer (usually 5% alcohol), 140 ml of wine (12% alcohol), and 1.5 ounces / 44 ml or a “shot” of distilled spirit or liquor (40% alcohol).
There are factors that influence the amount that your body can metabolize. This depends on the following:
- Your (gender), weight, and body composition
- If you have eaten or are eating during your alcohol consumption
- Your level of stress and rest on that day
- Your personal tolerance, are you a frequent drinker?
- The percentage of alcohol in every drink
- The overall amount consumed and the speed of consumption
- How much nonalcoholic fluids you drank in between
DISCLAIMER: Alcohol poisoning can also occur when adults or children accidentally or intentionally drink household products that contain alcohol. No matter the reason please seek medical attention immediately. Alcohol poisoning is serious and can be deadly.
What are the signs of alcohol poisoning? (not all of the below are necessary to experience at the same time to have alcohol poisoning)
Signs of alcohol poisoning may include:
- Coma, or unable to wake up
- Severe dehydration
- Throwing up
- Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths every minute)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Low body temperature, pale skin color
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach
- Bee hydrated and stay hydrated. Have one glass of water for each alcoholic drink that you are consuming
- Set a limit and stick to it
- Avoid drinking when you are in a bad mood or even aggressive
- Do not drink alone and be in a safe enviroment
The impact of inflation for you as a consumer
- Inflation means you get less value for your money
- In order for a business to survive, the prices can not remain the same
- If the consumer is not aware that he will have to spend more to receive the same he must understand that he will receive a less quality product, either he chooses a cheaper brand which has not the same prices as his more expensive choice from before or if he finds the same price it may be a counterfeit/fake item
Whenever more money is being created by central banks and thus the amount of circulating money has increased the value of every unit is decreased. Usually, there are mechanisms in place like interest rates which are only one way to impact the money supply amount. However, due to an all-time low of interest rates, a shortage in many commodities, lockdowns, and many logistical issues, which are driving prices up, inflation has been extremely high lately. In Iraq, the Iraqi Dinar which is traded against the US$ has been losing 20% of its value. From around 1230 IQD per 1 US$ to now 1470 IQD per 1 US$. This does not reflect the general inflation which can be seen here: Iraqs Inflation rate
The Inflation within Iraq is immense and the logical result is that prices have to increase at almost the same rate in order for businesses to survive. Shouldn’t you be happy if you still find the same prices as before so that you are not affected by this inflation?
This is easy to answer: NO
To remain at the same prices is impossible. Either the business has not taken the inflation into consideration and will one day realize that all profit from the time previous of the inflation is now not existing and the business may by then be bankrupt or if not yet out of money in need to increase prices. In neighboring countries like Turkey or Iran, we have seen an increase in taxes as well as inflation drive prices up as well. As the result, there was a flood of fake products with many health concerns connected.
Usually, the money supply is increased to drive the economy up which is a good intention. If you happen to have an increased salary from before the inflation (or if you are being paid in a foreign currency) you have not to worry in the short term about your buying power. Just keep on enjoying purchasing the same items as before. If you are not that lucky we recommend you to do one of the following:
- Look for real products in the first place
- Look out for special offers, the markets are struggling and a discount on a genuine product shall be easy to find (like in our newsletter)
- Throw together with friends. Share a bottle of your favorite liquor with your friends and share the costs
- Eventually downgrade the brand you used to go for with a more economical choice
- stop smoking and use the money saved to drink more 🙂
How to spot fake alcohol
- Fake alcohol is a real threat to your health
- We want to educate you and work together with you to keep you as the consumer safe
- please read this article with attention as no one is safe of this criminal activity of circulating counterfeit products
- Results of consuming fake alcohol can cause serious symptoms including blindness and death
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the risk of consuming fake liquor. The internet is full of resources and great tips for you as a consumer which we will summarize for you here without missing out on the details when they are necessary.
What is fake alcohol? Usually, the profit margin on none rare and exclusive items is not very high so that counterfeit products are manufactured with very cheap ingredients. The worst ingredients are methanol or chemical leftovers which are both toxic.
Consuming as little as 10 ml of pure methanol can cause permanent blindness by the destruction of the optic nerve. As little as 30 ml is potentially fatal, depending on your body weight, 1 ml per 1 Kg bodyweight gets you to sleep forever. The tricky part about Methanol is that is smells and tastes in the pure form very similar to ethanol of which genuine alcohol is made off.
Let’s start by considering what we can check as long as the bottle we are examining is still closed:
- Check the fill level:
Original “new” filled bottles are usually filled to the same level. In whisky, the filling level is usually filled to the middle of the neck (but this can vary by distillery). When the bottle ages, the filling level usually goes down.
A whisky bottle that is 25 years old (not the whisky itself), we are referring to the age after the content was bottled, the content may vaporize to a small extent and the filling level goes down to about the bottom of the bottleneck.
- Shake it up:
Give your bottle a shake! When shaking a bottle some bubbles will occur on the top (beating). The percentage of the alcohol content gives you an indication of how long the bubbles shall remain until they disappear.
40% of alcohol content leaves the bubbles 5-10 seconds, 45% of alcohol leaves the bubbles 15 Seconds and 50% about 20 seconds.
- Lit and or Cap around the bottleneck:
The cap should always sit tight around the bottleneck. A loose cap is a common indication that the content of the bottle has been altered.
- Take a look at the bottom: (whisky)
An older bottle usually has sediment build-up.
Sherry cask whisky is most likely to have this occurring.
- Remember (the 4 P’s):
- Place – Always buy your booze from a reputable market or shop.
- Price – You know the rule, if it looks too good to be true (too cheap), it probably is (fake).
- Packaging – Look out for: thinner glass than you are used to. Poor quality labeling, including things like spelling mistakes. Also, the edges may not stick well.
International duty stamps.
Port, which indicates that tax has either been paid or is due to be paid on the contents of the bottle. They’re usually incorporated into the label or stuck on the glass. If it’s not there, it’s illegal.
Properly sealed caps. If the seal is broken, don’t drink it. Even if it’s not illegal, it could have been tampered with.
Fake bar codes.
- Product – Look out for fake versions of well-known brands. The well-known and most consumed brands are usually the most copied. For example, Johnny Walker, Jim Beam, Grey Goose, Beluga and all those other popular brands.
Enjoy your drink in a safe manner!
I love water, especially when it’s frozen and surrounded by gin.
Despite it being recognized as the national spirit of England, 11th century Holland is considered the birthplace of Gin. The English discovered the drink while fighting the Dutch War of Independence in the 17th century and brought the spirit back with them to England.
However, Gin’s key ingredient, juniper berry, is known to have been combined with alcohol as far back as 70 A.D., with references to its use as a medical tonic to treat chest ailments.
In fact, the juniper berry has been used for centuries for various ailments including digestive problems such as upset stomach, gas heartburn, bloating, kidney and bladder issues. Though it should be noted that only a handful of species of juniper are safe for human consumption and the treatment of medical complaints.
The Gin we drink today begins with a neutral grain-based spirit infused with the traditional juniper berry, however, it has evolved to include a host of other botanicals such as citrus, anise, licorice root, and coriander, to impart complex and distinct flavours. Contemporary Gin distillers are becoming more creative in their recipes, which are now bringing new and exciting flavour twists to the centuries-old spirit. Mixologists are also creating beautifully presented and uniquely flavoured cocktails with the variety of Gin options available today.
The German Bottle Shop is pleased to offer its valued and discerning clientele a tremendous variety of Gin carefully sourced and selected from all over the world, from very traditional labels to more exclusive offerings. Visit us online or in-store to explore our unique and extensive inventory.
Top 10 Gin drinking countries
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What is Mulled Wine?
Mulled wine is one of winter’s highlights for most that are enjoying a hot drink at a cold climate. The great feeling of warmth and the winter spices that one glass unfolds on the pallet is just incredible. Mulled wine just brings the senses and memories of warmth and cozy Christmas time.
Let us tell you a short story about the history of mulled wine. It all started with the Ancient Greeks. They were actually not the type of people to leave their extra wine on the table, but they always had a part of the harvest that they couldn’t use properly as they wanted to. So, for them to prevent the waste and to make as much alcohol as possible, they used to dump the spices into what is left from the harvest and heat it up. And they called this creation of wine “hippocras”. Romans used to do the same and heat up their extra wine with spices to save it from being wasted. The Romans tried to do something different and they did a twist with their wine using different spices and white wine, they named it (Conditum paradoxum) the ingredients go as follows:
- 750 ml bottle of white wine
- 1 cup honey
- 1 date
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds or mastic gum
- 2 bay leaves
- pinch saffron
The first use of “mull” as a verb meaning “to heat sweeten, and flavor with spices” was in 1618.
In modern days, the common perception of mulled wine comes from Victorian England. Despite the prudish on life, mulled wine was always a fine holiday season drink. Now in most modern-day versions mulled wine usually has orange, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and you can always say that It’s always a great feeling to have a glass of mulled wine especially when the temperature starts to drop.
Our Mulled wine can be found by clicking here
How Vodka is made
Vodka is rather seen as very pure and clean alcohol as it is usually not aged and thus does not contain any additives or byproducts from processing. Vodka can be made from either potato, grains, sugar, molasses, and fermented fruits.
1. Choosing the ingredients for the Mash:
- The mash that is created needs to contain either sugar or starches for the distillation process.
- When making vodka from grains and potatoes, a mash must be made that contains active enzymes that break down the starches from the grains or potatoes and makes fermentable sugars.
- Fruit juice already contains sugars so starch-degrading enzymes are not needed. As with fruit juice, vodka made from store-bought sugars needs to only be fermented, thus bypassing the need for a mash.
- Some innovations are being introduced to the market such as Vodka made of wine. When already fermented mediums such as wine are used, the medium can be distilled right away into vodka.
2. Adding enzymes
- If sugar or molasses is used there is no need to add any enzymes as there is sugar already present in the mash.
- The same applies for malted grains such as malted barley and malted wheat which have sufficient natural enzymes that break down the starches into sugar.
- Other mashed will need additional enzymes. Let us use potatoes for this example. The potatoes, as well as non-malted grains, need to first be gelatinized. In the case of the potato, the shredded potato pieces will need to be heated to a temperature above 66 C in order to gelatinize.
- Since enzymes are destroyed at high temperatures the mash should not be heated more than 70 C.
3. The fermentation process
- Absolute clean containers must be used during the process
- The process takes usually between 3-5 days
- The yeast transforms the sugars in the mash into ethyl alcohol
- This process can only create an alcohol content of 14%
- The ethyl alcohol that was produced in fermentation is poured in stainless steel stills
- The distillation transfers the vaporized alcohol into a sterilized chamber leaving water and impurities in the first chamber
- The alcohol content of the collected vaporized liquid is now 95-100%
5. Adding water and if desired sometimes flavors
- To make the alcohol drinkable, water is added to dilute the alcohol to the standardized 40% level (countries have varying laws about the required alcohol content). At this point, flavors can be added. Common are herbs, spices, fruit essence and grasses.
The Bavarian/German Reinheitsgebot also known as the Purity Law
The 1516 Bavarian law set the price of beer (depending on the time of year and type of beer), limited the profits made by a traditional inn or salon, and declared the confiscation and penalty for making impure beer.
The purity law states that the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were barley, water and hops. Even though yeast was used in the brewing process it was not mentioned as it was probably seen as a fixture. The understanding of the role yeast had in the fermentation process, came later in time.
The purpose of the Bavarian order of 1516 was introduced in part to prevent price competition with bakers for wheat and rye. The restriction of grains to barley was meant to ensure the availability of affordable bread, as wheat and rye were reserved for the use by bakers. The rule may have also had a protectionist role to keep the beer pure, as beers from Northern Germany often contained additives that were not present in Bavarian beer.
Some sources may try to make us believe that the Bavarian law of 1516 is the first law regulating food safety, this is false, as earlier food safety regulations can be traced back as far as ancient Rome. The law has also changed as early as the mid-1500s Bavaria began to allow ingredients such as coriander, bay leaf, and wheat.
The Reinheitsgebot remains the most famous law that regulates the brewing of beer, and continues to influence brewing not only in Germany, but around the world. Today the purity law may be rather an obstacle to the German beer industry and the export of its product, as it prevents to adapt to the new trends of craft beers that gain in popularity.
There are a number of earlier dated brewing license and a variety of other beer regulations such as:
974 Emperor Otto II at Liege
1487 Munich Reinheitsgebot
Grand Cru Vs. Premier Cru
Did you ever come across both terms when shopping for wine and were wondering what the difference is? So what is a premier cru, and what is a grand cru from Bourgogne?
First of all the word cru is a French term that literally means growth but can be taken as the harvest or selection.
In the Burgundy classification system, there are four quality categories. From least to more prestigious, they are regional appellations Burgundy (Bourgogne) is the broadest, and the two levels of vineyard-specific designations, premier cru and grand cru.
The cru hierarchy can be confusing, because premier cru is below grand cru, even though the word premier translates as first and those wines are often abbreviated as 1er cru.
As quite often in the wine jargon the labeling can be deceptive. Grand cru designated wines represent only about 1 % of the total production of Burgundy, but this classification system developed 1855 requested by Emperor Napoleon III, isn’t a foolproof guide to quality. You may prefer a Vineyards premier cru to a neighbor’s grand cru, and there are plenty of terrific small village wines.
Conclusion: Grand Cru is the rarest and consequently often the most expensive also claimed to be a wine of the most superior grade. Premier Cru which is also referred to as 1st Cru is below Grand Cru.
What is a Single Malt Whisky?
Single malts are typically associated with single malt Scotch, though they are also produced in various other countries. Single malt whisky is malt whisky from a single distillery. Why are single malts such a hit amongst whisky drinkers? Single malt whiskey is made in a copper pot in one single distillery, which is why it is more rich and flavorsome than other whiskeys. Single malt is full of flavor and requires a lot more care when it is being created, while other whiskey’s can be made from a mixture of grains, such as rye, wheat or corn, which are cheaper and quicker to produce.
There are actual definitions in UK law “obviously only regarding the Scotch Single malts”. While the Scotch model is usually copied internationally, these constraints may not apply to whisky marketed as “single malt” that is produced elsewhere. For example, there is no definition of the term “single” with relation to whisky in the law of the United States, and some American whiskey advertised as “single malt whisky” is produced from malted rye rather than malted barley.
The UK regulations were laid before Parliament on October 30, 2009 and came into force on November 23, 2009, repealing the Scotch Whisky Act 1988 and the Scotch Whisky (Northern Ireland) Order 1988.
Single Malt Scotch Whisky is whisky distilled at a single distillery, i) from water and malted barley (without the addition of any other cereals) and ii) by batch distillations in pot stills. Furthermore, as of November 23, 2012 the regulations require that all single malt Scotch whisky be bottled in Scotland. Examples include Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan, and Springbank.
Under the United Kingdom’s Scotch Whisky Regulations, a “Single Malt Scotch Whisky” must be made exclusively from malted barley (although the addition of E150A caramel coloring is allowed), must be distilled using pot stills at a single distillery, and must be aged for at least three years in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres.
Some Brands we are offering in our stores and the online shop:
Highland Park Single Malt 18YO
Jura Single Malt 10
Laphroaig Single Malt 28
Macallan Quest Single Malt
Michel Couvreur Blossoming Auld Sherried Single Malt
Old Pulteney Bourbon Cask
Scapa the Orcadian Single Malt
Talisker Single Malt 10
The Glenlivet 18YO
The Glenlivet Single Malt 21
The Macallan 12
The Macallan Gran Reserva 18 (1979)
The Macallan Rare Cask Batch N2