boozing n : the act of drinking alcoholic beverages to excess; "drink was his downfall" [syn: drink, drinking, drunkenness, crapulence]
- present participle of booze
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol—although in chemistry the definition of alcohol includes many other compounds.
Ethanol is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect. Most countries restrict and regulate its sale and consumption; for example, they place legal drinking-age restrictions upon the sale of alcoholic drinks to young people. The manufacture and consumption of alcohol is found to some degree in most cultures and societies around the world, from hunter-gatherer peoples to nation-states. The drinking of alcoholic beverages is very often an important part of social events in such societies, and it can be an important aspect of a community’s culture.
Ethanol is only slightly toxic compared to other alcohols, but has significant psychoactive effects. A significant blood alcohol content may be considered legal drunkenness as it reduces attention and slows reaction speed. Alcoholic beverages can be addictive and the state of addiction to ethanol is known as alcoholism.
Chemistry and toxicology
Ethanol (CH3CH2OH), the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks, for consumption purposes is always produced by fermentation–the metabolism of carbohydrates by certain species of yeast in the absence of oxygen. The process of culturing yeast under alcohol-producing conditions is referred to as brewing. The same process produces carbon dioxide in situ, and may be used to carbonate the drink. However, this method leaves yeast residues and on the industrial scale, carbonation usually is done separately.
Drinks with a concentration of more than 50% ethanol by volume (100 US proof) are flammable liquids and easily ignited. Some exotic drinks gain their distinctive flavors through intentional ignition, such as the Flaming Dr Pepper. Spirits with a higher proof (ABV in UK is roughly half of proof number) can be ignited with ease by heating slightly, e.g. adding the spirit to a warmed shot glass.
In chemistry, alcohol is a general term for any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom, which in turn may be bound to other carbon atoms and further hydrogens. Other alcohols such as propylene glycol and the sugar alcohols may appear in food or beverages regularly, but these alcohols do not make them "alcoholic". Methanol (one carbon), the propanols (three carbons giving two isomers), and the butanols (four carbons, four isomers) are all commonly found alcohols, and none of these three should ever be consumed in any form. Alcohols are toxicated into the corresponding aldehydes and then into the corresponding carboxylic acids. These metabolic products cause a poisoning and acidosis. In the case of other alcohols than ethanol, the aldehydes and carboxylic acids are poisonous and the acidosis can be lethal. In contrast, fatalities from ethanol are mainly found in extreme doses and related to induction of unconsciousness or chronic addiction (alcoholism).
Humans can metabolize ethanol as an energy-providing nutrient. Ethanol is metabolized into acetaldehyde and then into acetic acid. Acetic acid is esterified with coenzyme A to produce acetyl CoA. Acetyl CoA carries the acetyl moiety into the citric acid cycle, which produces energy by oxidizing the acetyl moiety into carbon dioxide. Acetyl CoA can also be used for biosynthesis. Acetyl CoA is an intermediate common with the metabolism of sugars and fats, and it is the product of glycolysis, the breakdown of glucose.
When compared to other alcohols, ethanol is only slightly toxic, with a lowest known lethal dose in humans of 1400 mg/kg, and a LD50 of 9000 mg/kg (oral, rat). Nevertheless, accidental overdosing of alcoholic drinks, especially those of concentrated variety, is a risk for women, lightweight persons and children. These people have a smaller quantity of water in their body, so that alcohol is diluted less. A blood alcohol concentration of 50 to 100 mg/dL may be considered legal drunkenness (laws vary by jurisdiction). The threshold of effects is at 22 mg/dL.
Alcohol affects the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, to produce a depressant (neurochemical inhibitory) effect. Other psychoactives affecting the GABA receptor include gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, barbiturates and benzodiazepines. "GABA has been implicated, both directly and indirectly, in the pathogenesis of Huntington's disease, Parkinsonism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, tardive dyskinesias, and senile dementia, as well as several other behavioral disorders."
Excessive consumption of alcohol leads to a toxication-induced delayed poisoning called hangover (in Latin, crapula refers to intoxication and hangover) and represents the inhibited state of the brain in the initial phases of addiction. Various factors contribute, including the toxication of ethanol itself to acetaldehyde, the direct toxic effects and toxication of impurities called congeners, and dehydration. Hangover starts after the euphoric effects of alcohol itself have subsided, typically in the night and morning after alcoholic drinks were consumed. However, the blood alcohol concentration may still be substantial and above the limits imposed for drivers and operators of other dangerous equipment. Hangover subsides during the day. Various treatments, many of them pseudoscientific, are presented to "cure hangover". However, activities such as driving are still dangerous.
Alcoholic contentThe concentration of alcohol in a drink may be specified in percent alcohol by volume (ABV), in percentage by weight (sometimes abbreviated w/w for weight for weight), or in proof. In the USA, the 'proof' measurement is twice the percentage of alcohol by volume at 60 degrees Fahrenheit (e.g., 80 proof = 40% ABV). Degrees proof were formerly used in the UK where 100 degrees proof was 57.1% ABV (historically, the most dilute spirit which would sustain the combustion of gunpowder). Common distillation cannot exceed 191.2 proof (USA) because at that point ethanol is an azeotrope with water. Alcohols of this purity are commonly referred to as grain alcohol and are not meant for human consumption, with the notable exception of neutral grain spirits.
Most yeasts cannot grow when the concentration of alcohol is higher than about 18% by volume, so that is a practical limit for the strength of fermented beverages such as wine, beer, and sake. Strains of yeast have been developed that can survive in solutions of up to 25% alcohol by volume, but these were bred for ethanol fuel production, not beverage production. Spirits are produced by distillation of a fermented product, concentrating the alcohol and eliminating some of the by-products. Fortified wines are produced by adding brandy or other distilled spirits to achieve higher ABV than is easily reached using fermentation alone.
Unsweetened alcoholic beverages based on distilled alcohol with a percentage of alcohol greater than perhaps 30% are referred to as spirits. Sweet beverages with high alcohol content are usually called liqueurs. Spirits are sometimes added to wines (port, sherry), creating fortified wines.
FlavoringsEthanol is a moderately good solvent for many fatty substances and essential oils, and thus facilitates the inclusion of several coloring, flavoring and/or aromatic compounds to alcoholic beverages, especially to distilled ones. These flavoring ingredients may be naturally present in the starting material, or may be added before fermentation, before distillation, during distillation (gin) or before bottling the distilled product. Sometimes the flavor is obtained by allowing the beverage to stand for months or years in oak barrels, normally American or French oak, sometimes charred (bourbon), sometimes already used for aging a different spirit, wine or fortified wine. Occasionally, in the bottle herbs or fruits have been inserted to flavor the final product.
Alcohol has been widely consumed since prehistoric times by people around the world, as a component of the standard diet, for hygienic or medical reasons, for its relaxant and euphoric effects, for recreational purposes, for artistic inspiration, as aphrodisiacs, and for other reasons. Some drinks have been invested with symbolic or religious significance suggesting the mystical use of alcohol, e.g. by Greco-Roman religion in the ecstatic rituals of Dionysus (also called Bacchus), god of wine and revelry; in the Christian Eucharist; and on the Jewish Shabbat and festivals (particularly Passover).
Fermented beveragesChemical analysis of traces absorbed and preserved in pottery jars from the Neolithic village of Jiahu, in Henan province, Northern China, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey, and fruit was being produced as early as 9,000 years ago. This is approximately the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East. Recipes have been found on clay tablets and art in Mesopotamia that show individuals using straws to drink beer from large vats and pots. The Hindu Ayurvedic texts describe both the beneficent uses of alcoholic beverages and the consequences of intoxication and alcoholic diseases. Most of the peoples in India and China, have continued, throughout, to ferment a portion of their crops and nourish themselves with the alcoholic product. However, devout adherents of Buddhism, which arose in India in the 5th and 6th centuries BC and spread over southern and eastern Asia, abstain to this day, as do devout Hindus and Sikhs. In Mesopotamia and Egypt, the birthplace of beer and wine, Islam is now the predominant religion, and it also prohibits the drinking and even the handling of alcoholic beverages.
Wine was consumed in Classical Greece at breakfast or at symposia, and in the 1st century BC it was part of the diet of most Roman citizens. However, both Greeks and Romans generally consumed diluted wine (with strengths varying from 1 part wine and 1 part water to 1 part wine and 4 parts water). The transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana is the first of the miracles attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, and his use of wine in the Last Supper led to it becoming an essential part of the Eucharist rite in most Christian traditions (see Christianity and alcohol).
In Europe during the Middle Ages, beer was consumed by the whole family, thanks to a triple fermentation process — the men had the strongest, then women, then children. A document of the times mentions nuns having an allowance of six pints of ale a day. Cider and pomace wine were also widely available, while grape wine was the prerogative of the higher classes.
By the time the Europeans reached the Americas in the 15th century, several native civilizations had developed alcoholic beverages. According to a post-Conquest Aztec document, consumption of the local "wine" (pulque) was generally restricted to religious ceremonies, but freely allowed to those over 70 years old. The natives of South America manufactured a beer-like product from cassava or maize (cauim, chicha), which had to be chewed before fermentation in order to turn the starch into sugars. This chewing technique was also used in ancient Japan to make sake from rice and other starchy crops.
The medicinal use of alcohol was mentioned in Sumerian and Egyptian texts dated from 2100 BC or earlier. The Hebrew Bible recommends giving alcoholic drinks to those who are dying or depressed, so that they can forget their misery (Proverbs 31:6-7).
The distillation of alcohol can be traced back to China, Central Asia and the Middle East. In particular, Muslim chemists were the first to produce fully purified distilled alcohol. It later spread to Europe in the mid-12th century, and by the early 14th century it had spread throughout the continent. It also spread eastward, mainly due to the Mongols, and began in China no later than the 14th century. However, recent archaeological evidence suggests that in China the practice of distillation may date back to 5000 BC. Paracelsus gave alcohol its modern name, taking it from the Arabic word which means "finely divided", a reference to distillation.
UsesIn many countries, alcoholic beverages are commonly consumed at the major daily meals (lunch and dinner).
In places and areas with poor public sanitation, such as Medieval Europe, consumption of alcoholic drinks (particularly weak or "small" beer) was one method of avoiding water-borne diseases such as cholera. Though alcohol kills bacteria, the low concentration in beer or even wine will have only a limited effect. Probably the boiling of water, which is required for the brewing of beer, and the growth of yeast, which would tend to crowd out other micro-organisms, were more important than the alcohol itself. Additionally, the ethanol (and possibly other ingredients) of alcoholic beverages allows them to be stored for months or years in simple wood or clay containers without spoiling; for this reason they were commonly utilized onboard sailing vessels as a key (or even the sole) source of hydration for the crew, especially during the long voyages of the early modern period.
In colder climates, strong alcoholic beverages such as vodka are popularly seen as a way to "warm up" the body, possibly because ethanol is a quickly absorbed source of food energy and because it dilates peripheral blood vessels (Peripherovascular dilation) — a dangerous misconception, as the perception of warmth is actually caused by the transfer of heat from the body's core to its extremities where it is quickly lost to the environment.
In many cultures, both contemporary and historical, alcoholic beverages — mostly because of their neurological effects — have also played an important role in various kinds of social interaction, providing a form of "liquid courage" (those who consume it typically gain confidence and lose discretion). While other psychoactive drugs (such as opium, coca, khat, cannabis, kava-kava, etc.) also have millennial traditions of social use, only coffee, tea, betel, and tobacco are currently as universally used and accepted as ethanol.
Alcohol consumption and healthSome studies have suggested that in moderation, alcohol consumption has significant health benefits. These include a lower risk of heart attack, lower risk of diabetes, lower risk of Alzheimer's disease, reduced risk of stroke, and an increase in overall longevity. One study found that a person fifty-five or older who consumed 1-3 drinks daily was half as likely to develop dementia linked to poor oxygen to the brain as a person who did not. Additionally, because alcohol increases 'good' cholesterol and decreases the 'bad' cholesterol, there are indications that frequent doses in moderation reduce the risk of blood clots and stroke. These benefits are all counteracted by excessive consumption. A 2001 report estimates that medium and high consumption of alcohol led to 75,754 deaths in the USA. Low consumption has some beneficial effects so a net 59,180 deaths were attributed to alcohol.
Alcohol intoxication affects the brain, causing slurred speech, clumsiness, and delayed reflexes. The condition is called alcohol intoxication or drunkenness, and eventually subsides. Alcohol stimulates insulin production, which speeds up the glucose metabolism and can result in low blood sugar, causing irritability. In excess, the poisoning can be severe, even lethal. A blood-alcohol content of .45% represents the LD50, or the amount which would prove fatal in 50% of test subjects. This is about six times the level of intoxication (0.08%), but vomiting and/or unconsciousness are triggered much sooner in people with a low tolerance, among whom such high levels are rarely reached unless a large amount of alcohol is consumed very quickly. However, chronic heavy drinkers' high tolerance may allow some of them to remain conscious at levels above .4%, despite the serious health dangers.
Chronic effects of alcohol consumption include effects of its metabolism in the liver, its carcinogenity, its effects on the brain, and effects of addiction (alcoholism). For example, cirrhosis is stereotypically found in heavy drinkers. The consumption of alcohol does not kill brain cells but rather damages dendrites, the branched ends of nerve cells that bring messages into the cell. Alcohol dilates the channels in the cellular structure that regulate the flow of calcium, causing excess calcium to flow into the cells and stimulating increased activity. This does not kill the whole cell, but causes a loss of the end segments, leading to the loss of incoming signals and therefore a change in brain function. Most of this damage is temporary, but the recovery process changes nerve-cell structure permanently. Some forms of cancer have been linked to excessive consumption of alcohol. "3.6% of all cancer cases worldwide are related to alcohol drinking, resulting in 3.5% of all cancer deaths" (see alcohol and cancer for details).
Alcohol is also a potentially addictive substance, with numerous health effects, and potentially lethal effects of withdrawal. Alcoholism has more and more serious effects on health than moderate drinking. Alcoholism is a major concern for public health; like other kinds of addiction, it is also viewed as a form of immorality. Propensity to alcoholism is partially genetic; individuals with such propensity may have a different biochemical response to alcohol. Alcohol addiction can also lead to malnutrition because it can alter digestion and metabolism of most nutrients. Severe thiamine deficiency is common due to deficiency of folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and selenium. Muscle cramps, nausea, appetite loss, nerve disorders and depression are some common symptoms. It can also lead to osteoporosis and bone fractures due to vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D helps in calcium absorption).
Alcohol and religionSome religions — most notably Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, the Bahá'í Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Theravada and most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant sects of Fundamentalist Christianity and Hinduism — forbid, discourage, or restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages for various reasons.
In the early Islamic period drinking was considered to be one of the two offences against God, the other being illicit sex. Even now according to Islam several Qur'anic verses are commonly understood to prohibit the use of alcohol. The Qu'ran says that although there are some benefits in alcohol, the sins are greater than the benefits(). Only the use of alcohol for medical purposes is allowed.
Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist and permit the use of alcohol in moderation, while others use unfermented grape juice in the Eucharist and abstain from alcohol by choice or prohibit it outright. The Jewish religion uses wine on Shabbat for Kiddush as well as in the Passover ceremony and in other religious ceremonies, including Purim, and allows the moderate use of alcohol, such as kosher wine.
Buddhist texts recommend refraining from drugs and alcohol, because they may inhibit mindfulness.
Many Pagan religions, however, have had a completely reverse view on alcohol and drunkenness - some have actively promote it as means of fertility cult on promoting fertility and sexual lust. Alcohol is seen to increase lust and sexual desires and to lower the threshold of approaching another person. For example, Norse paganism considered alcohol as the sap of Yggdrasil, and drunkenness and intoxication by mushrooms was an important rite of fertility. Somewhat paradoxically, one pharmacodynamic effect of alcohol reduces sexual arousal.
Most countries have a legal drinking age that prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors, although the age at which this prohibition ends, as well as the degree to which it is enforced, varies from country to country.
AustraliaIn Australia, the age for the purchase but not necessarily consumption is 18 years old. (In NSW it is illegal for anyone to supply alcohol to anyone under the age of 18.)
CanadaIn Canada the legal drinking age is 18 in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec only, and 19 elsewhere.
EuropeLaws covering the legal drinking age and sale of alcoholic beverages in Europe varies from country to country, both in terms of legal drinking age and the age to legally purchase alcohol; the legal drinking age usually 16 to 18. Some countries have a tiered structure restricting the sales of stronger alcoholic drinks (typically based on alcohol% w/w) to older adults. For example, in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and Austria, a purchaser of beer or wine must be 16, and 18 for distilled alcoholic beverages. Germany's law is directed toward sellers of alcoholic beverages, not toward minors themselves; German law vests control of the consumption of alcoholic beverage in the hands of parents and guardians. In the United Kingdom, the minimum age for purchasing alcohol is 18, although minors are legally allowed to consume alcohol in restaurants with a meal from the age of 16. Children are able to drink in the home from the age of five. Shop workers under 18 may not legally sell alcohol. In France and Portugal people must be 16 to buy alcoholic beverages.
In Nordic countries, except for Denmark, the legal drinking age is 18, but the rights are limited up to the age of 20. In Iceland and Sweden purchasers or possessors of alcoholic beverages must be 20, although they can be drunk from 18. In Finland and Norway purchase or possession of alcoholic beverages with up to 22% ABV (i.e. beer, wine and liqueurs) is allowed from age 18, and stronger drinks from 20. In Finland and Sweden, but not in Norway, stronger drinks may be ordered in a restaurant from age 18. Denmark allows any type of alcohol to be purchased at age 16.
JapanIn Japan, the legal age for purchasing and consuming alcohol is 20.
The legal age for purchase or possession (but not necessarily consumption) in every state has been 21 since shortly after the passage of the National Minimum Drinking Age Act in 1984, which tied federal highway funds to states' maintaining a minimum drinking age of 21.
Nineteen states (Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Wyoming) and the District of Columbia only have laws against possession by minors, but do not prohibit consumption of alcohol by minors.
Thirteen states (Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) specifically permit children to drink alcohol given to them by their parents or guardians.
Many states also specifically permit consumption under the age of 21 for religious or health reasons.
Mind alterationIn law, sometimes the term "intoxicating agent" is used for a category of substances which includes alcoholic beverages and some other drugs. Giving any of these substances to a person to create an abnormal condition of the mind (such as drunkenness), in order to facilitate committing a crime (e.g., rape), may be an additional crime. Being under the influence of alcohol may also be considered an aggravating circumstance if a crime is committed.
Prohibition of alcoholforbid the commerce, consumption or advertising of alcoholic beverages, or restrict them in various ways.
In the United States, there was an attempt from 1920 to 1933 to eliminate the consumption of alcoholic beverages through national prohibition of their manufacture and sale. This period became known as the prohibition era. During this period the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States made manufacture, sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the United States. However, this project led to the unintended consequences of causing widespread disrespect for the law as many people sought alcoholic beverages from illegal sources, and of creating a lucrative business for illegal purveyors of alcohol (bootleggers), which led to the development of organized crime. As a result prohibition became widely unpopular, leading to repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933. Prior to national prohibition, beginning in the late 19th century, many states and localities had enacted prohibition within their jurisdictions, and following repeal of the 18th Amendment, some communities in the United States (known as dry counties) still ban alcohol sales.
Sweden also tried prohibition of alcohol in the early 20th century.
Many Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, prohibit alcohol for religious reasons. Drinking alcohol in public places, such as streets and parks, is against the law in most of the United States (see below) and in some European countries, but is legal in others such as Belgium and Germany. In The Netherlands it is not specifically illegal by law, but many cities and towns prohibit having an open container.
Drunk drivingMost countries have laws against drunk driving, driving with a certain concentration of ethanol in the blood. Punishments usually include fines, temporary loss of driving license, and imprisonment. The legal threshold of blood alcohol content ranges from 0.0% to 0.08%, according to local law. Similar prohibitions exist for drunk sailing, drunk bicycling, even drunk rollerblading. In many places in the United States it is illegal to have an open container of an alcoholic beverage in the passenger compartment.
ManufacturingIn many countries, production of alcoholic beverages requires a license, and alcohol production is taxed.
In the United States, the sale of alcoholic beverages is controlled by the individual States, the counties or parishes within each State, and then by local jurisdictions within counties. For example: in North Carolina, beer and wine may be purchased in retail stores, but distilled spirits are only available at State ABC (Alcohol Beverage Control) stores. In Maryland, distilled spirits are available in liquor stores except in Montgomery Country where the County runs the ABC stores.
In most States, individuals may freely produce wine and beer usually up to 100 gallons per adult, but no more than 200 gallons per household for personal consumption (but not for sale). However, in St. Mary's County, Maryland a 'bono fide' resident may sell beer and native wines from their home.
The production of distilled beverages is regulated and taxed. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (formerly one organization known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) enforce federal laws and regulations related to alcohol. Illegal manufacture of distilled liquor is often referred to as "moonshining", and the product, which is not aged and contains a high percentage of alcohol, is often called "white lightning".
In New Zealand it is legal to produce any form of alcohol for personal use, including spirits. This has made the sale and use of home distillation equipment popular. The same is true of many U.S. states, including Missouri.
Sale and possession restrictions
DenmarkIn Denmark, people can buy all kinds of alcoholic beverages from grocery stores. The Legal age of purchasing alcohol is 16 in shops, and 18 in bars and restaurants. Until 1998 there was no age limit to buy alcohol in shops. It is generally legal to drink alcoholic beverages in the street, however, you have to be at least 18 years old, but restrictions are sometimes applied by local authorities in problem areas. In trains, buses etc. it is generally allowed to drink alcohol, but not to act heavily intoxicated, a rule enforced less strictly than in neighbouring Scandinavian countries.
Home production of wine and beer is not regulated. Home distillation of spirits is legal, however not common since it is subject to the same taxation as spirits sold commercially. Bootlegging is rarely heard of, in contrast to rural Sweden and Norway. Danish alcohol taxes are significantly lower than in Sweden and Norway, but higher than in most other European countries.
Nordic countriesIn each of the Nordic countries except Denmark, there is a government monopoly on the selling of hard alcohol in stores.
In Sweden, beers with a lower alcohol content, called folköl (more than 2.25% and up to 3.5% alcohol by weight), can be sold in regular stores to anyone older than 18, but drinks with a high content of alcohol can only be sold in the official government-run vendors to people older than 20, or in licensed facilities such as restaurants and bars, where the age limit is 18. The law states that alcoholic drinks bought at these licensed facilities must be consumed on the premises, and it is not allowed to consume alcoholic drinks bought elsewhere. For non-alcoholic drinks there is no such legal requirement, but individual facilities may still set their own restrictions.
In Norway, beers with an alcohol content of 4.5% by volume or less can be legally sold in grocery stores. Stronger beers, wine and spirits can only be bought at official government-run vendors. All alcoholic beverages can be bought at licensed bars and restaurants, provided they are consumed on the premises. Beers and vine can be purchased by anyone of age 18 or older, spirits by anyone 20 or over. Norway levies some of the heaviest fees in the world on alcoholic beverages, particularly spirits, on top of a 25% GST on all goods and services. For example, 700 ml of Absolut Vodka currently retails at 275 NOK, which is about 54 USD.
The state-run vendor is called Systembolaget in Sweden, Vinmonopolet in Norway, Alko in Finland, and Vínbúð in Iceland. The governments claim that the purpose of this system is to cut down on the consumption of alcohol in these countries where binge drinking is an ancient tradition. The first such monopoly was in Falun in the 19th century. In the early 20th century, Sweden had a brief prohibition of strong alcoholic drinks, followed by strict rationing, and then more lax regulation, including being open on Saturdays. These measures have had success in the past, but since joining the European Union it has been harder to curb importation, legal or illegal, from other EU countries, making these measures less effective. There is an ongoing debate over whether or not to maintain the state-run alcohol monopolies.
In the United States, the places where alcohol may be sold and/or possessed, like all other alcohol restrictions, varies from state to state. Some states, like Nevada, Louisiana, Missouri, and Connecticut, have very permissive and laissez-faire alcohol laws, whereas other states, like Kansas and Oklahoma, have very strict alcohol laws.
Many U.S. states require that distilled liquor be sold only in dedicated liquor stores. In eighteen alcoholic beverage control states (Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming), liquor stores are run by the state itself, ostensibly to prevent young cashiers from allowing sales to underage friends while pretending to verify their age. In Nevada and Missouri, however, state law does not specifically enumerate the precise locations where alcohol may be sold, allowing even gas stations to sell any alcoholic beverage as if they were liquor stores. In some states, liquor sales are prohibited on Sunday by a blue law.
Most U.S. states follow a three-tier (alcohol distribution) system where producers cannot sell directly to retailers, but must instead sell to distributors, who in turn sell to retailers. Exceptions often exist for brewpubs (pubs which brew their own beer) and wineries, which are allowed to sell their products directly to consumers. Although all U.S. states have laws against drunk driving (usually defined as driving with at or above 0.08% blood alcohol content), most U.S. states also do not allow open containers of alcohol inside of moving vehicles. The federal Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century of 1999 mandates that if a state does not prohibit open containers of alcohol inside of all moving vehicles, a percentage of its federal highway funds will be transferred instead to alcohol education programs each year. As of November, 2007, only one state (Mississippi) allows drivers to consume alcohol while driving (below the 0.08% limit), and only seven states (Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia, and West Virginia) allow passengers to consume alcohol while the vehicle is in motion.
Five U.S. states limit alcohol sales in grocery stores and gas stations to beer at or below 3.2% alcohol: Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Utah. In these states, stronger beverages are restricted to liquor stores. In Oklahoma, liquor stores may not refrigerate any beverage containing more than 3.2% alcohol. Missouri also has provisions for 3.2% beer, but its extremely permissive alcohol laws (when compared to other states) makes 3.2% beer a rarity.
Most states ban drinking alcoholic beverages in public (i.e. in the street). Moreover, even where a state, like Nevada, Louisiana, or Missouri, has no laws against drinking alcoholic beverages in public, the vast majority of cities and counties therewithin do ban drinking alcoholic beverages in public. Still, in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, the Power & Light District of Kansas City, Missouri, and Beale Street of Memphis, TN, state law specifically allow persons over the age of 21 to possess alcoholic beverages in plastic cups on the street.
Often, bars serving distilled liquor are exempted from smoking bans where they exist in the United States (see list of smoking bans in the United States.)
Types of alcoholic beveragesLow-alcohol-content drinks are produced by fermentation of sugar- or starch-containing products, and high-alcohol ones are produced by distillation of these. Sometimes, the alcohol content is increased by adding distilled products, particularly in the case of wines. Such fortified wines include Port and Sherry.
The process involved (as well as the resulting alcohol content) defines the finished product. Beer involves a relatively short (incomplete) fermentation process and an equally short aging process (a week or two) resulting in an alcohol content generally between 3-8%, as well as natural carbonation. Wine involves a longer (complete) fermentation process, and a relatively long aging process (months or years -- sometimes decades) resulting in an alcohol content between 7-18%. Sparkling wine is generally made by adding a small amount of sugar before bottling, which causes a secondary fermentation to continue in the bottle. Distilled products are generally not made from a beer that would normally be palatable as fermentation is normally completed, but no aging is involved until after distillation. Most are 30% or greater alcohol by volume. Liqueurs are characterized by the way in which their flavors are infused and typically have high sugar content. Spirits typically contain 37.5% alcohol or greater and are not infused with flavors during the distilling process, however some modern spirits are infused with flavors after distilling (the Swedish vodka Absolut, for instance or Polish infused cranberry vodka Sobieski).
Standard alcoholic drinks in the United States all contain the same amount of alcohol, about 0.6 fl. oz. (American) each (17.75ml). A U.S. standard drink is a 12 ounce can or bottle of beer, a five ounce glass of dinner wine, or a 1.5 ounce drink of 40% distilled spirits (either straight or in a mixed drink).
In the UK, alcohol content is measured in units. One unit equates to 10 ml of pure ethanol (approx. 1/3 fl. oz. American). A typical large glass or pint of beer contains approximately 2 units. A shot (25ml) of 40% spirit contains exactly 1 unit.
The names of some beverages are determined by the source of the material fermented:
Grains Juice of Fruits Vegetables Other Note that in common speech, wine or brandy is made from grapes unless the fruit is specified: plum wine or cherry brandy for example, although in some cases grape-derived alcohol is added.
In the USA and Canada, cider often means unfermented apple juice (see the article on cider), while fermented cider is called hard cider. Unfermented cider is sometimes called sweet cider. Also, applejack was originally made by a freezing process described in the article on cider which was equivalent to distillation but more easily done in the cold climate of New England. In the UK, cider refers to the alcoholic drink; in Australia the term is ambiguous.
Beer is generally made from barley, but can sometimes contain a mix of other grains. Whisky (or whiskey) is sometimes made from a blend of different grains, especially Irish whiskey which may contain several different grains. The style of whisk(e)y (Scotch, Rye, Bourbon, corn) generally determines the primary grain used, with additional grains usually added to the blend (most often barley, and sometimes oats). As far as American whiskey is concerned, Bourbon (corn), rye whiskey, must be at least 51% of respective constituent at fermentation, while corn whiskey (as opposed to bourbon) must be at least 81% - all by American law similar to the French A.O.P (Appellation d'Origine Controllée).
Two common distilled beverages are vodka and gin. Vodka can be distilled from any source of agricultural origin (grain and potatoes being the most common) but the main characteristic of vodka is that it is so thoroughly distilled as to exhibit less of the flavors derived from its source material. Distillers and experts however will disagree, potato vodkas display a creamy mouthfeel, whilst rye vodkas will have heavy nuances of rye. Other vodkas display citrus notes. Gin is a similar distillate which has been flavored by contact with herbs and other plant products, especially juniper berries but also including angel root, licorice, cardamom, grains of paradise, Bulgarian rose petals, and many others. The name comes from the Dutch or French word for Juniper, jenever or genever.
boozing in Arabic: مشروبات كحولية
boozing in Min Nan: Chiú
boozing in Bosnian: Alkoholna pića
boozing in Catalan: Beguda alcohòlica
boozing in Czech: Alkoholický nápoj
boozing in Danish: Alkoholiske drikkevarer
boozing in German: Getränk#Alkoholische_Getr.C3.A4nke
boozing in Estonian: Alkohoolne jook
boozing in Spanish: Bebida alcohólica
boozing in Esperanto: Alkoholaĵo
boozing in Basque: Alkoholdun edari
boozing in Persian: نوشیدنیهای الکلی
boozing in French: Boisson alcoolisée
boozing in Friulian: Alcul
boozing in Galician: Bebida alcohólica
boozing in Gan Chinese: 酒
boozing in Korean: 술
boozing in Croatian: Alkoholno piće
boozing in Indonesian: Minuman beralkohol
boozing in Inuktitut: ᐊᖓᔮᕐᓇᖅᑐᖅ/angajaarnaqtuq
boozing in Icelandic: Áfengi
boozing in Italian: Bevanda alcolica
boozing in Hebrew: משקה חריף
boozing in Georgian: ალკოჰოლური სასმელი
boozing in Latvian: Alkoholiskie dzērieni
boozing in Lithuanian: Alkoholinis gėrimas
boozing in Macedonian: Алкохолен пијалок
boozing in Malay (macrolanguage): Arak
boozing in Dutch: Alcoholische drank
boozing in Japanese: 酒
boozing in Norwegian: Alkoholholdige drikker
boozing in Norwegian Nynorsk: Alkoholhaldig drykk
boozing in Polish: Napój alkoholowy
boozing in Portuguese: Bebida alcoólica
boozing in Romanian: Băutură alcoolică
boozing in Russian: Алкогольные напитки
boozing in Albanian: Pije alkoolike
boozing in Slovak: Alkoholický nápoj
boozing in Slovenian: Alkoholna pijača
boozing in Serbian: Алкохолно пиће
boozing in Finnish: Alkoholijuoma
boozing in Swedish: Alkoholdryck
boozing in Thai: สุรา
boozing in Vietnamese: Đồ uống có cồn
boozing in Ukrainian: Спиртні напої
boozing in Yiddish: אלקאהאלישע געטראנקען
boozing in Contenese: 酒
boozing in Samogitian: Alkuogolinis gierals
boozing in Chinese: 酒