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10 Fascinating Alcoholic Drinks From Ancient Societies

List RulesVote up the ancient alcoholic drinks you'd like to try.

Today's alcoholic beverages range from canned Strawberritas to expertly crafted cocktails, but modern bartenders aren't the first people to invent adults-only drinks. In fact, there are plenty of types of weird ancient liquors that have survived in the historical and archaeological records. These ancient alcohols don't always sound appetizing, but they're definitely fascinating.

Beer is one of the oldest beverages still being enjoyed today. The Egyptians were big home-brewers, though their drinks were soupier than most modern imbibers would prefer. The ancient drinks of the Greeks include kykeon, a mysterious barley-cheese beverage. But drinking in the ancient world often involved psychedelics as well. That shouldn't be surprising; after all, liquor in the ancient world was often used in religious rituals.

Unusual wines, agave extracts, and hearty ales have been enjoyed for centuries. Consider the history contained in that bottle of beer the next time you crack one open.

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    Pulque

    Photo: Art of Manliness / via Pinterest

    Pulque is arguably the most storied alcoholic drink in Mexico's history, serving as an ancestor of mescal and tequila. It's made by fermenting, not distilling, the sap of the maguey plant (AKA agave). It contains a lot of probiotics, and has served many purposes over the years.

    In mythology, the milky white beverage was said to have been invented in a lost divine paradise, although humans probably first started drinking it about 4000 years ago. The Aztecs also used it as a religious stimulant.

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    Soma

    Photo: Karen Carr / via Pinterest

    Soma appears in the Rigveda, a series of ancient religious texts from India. Soma was a plant that produced an intoxicating beverage with a hallucinogenic effect, as well as the god who personified both of these. Soma was seen to be a healer, tied to the moon, and a fertilizing force.

    In the Rigveda, soma (the drink) was made by squeezing liquid from the plant's stalk, which was combined with milk and water. The resulting beverage might have brought worshippers some pretty interesting visions.

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    Shedeh

    Photo: Egyptahotep / via YouTube

    Shedeh is a mysterious ancient Egyptian drink whose contents scholars still debate. Was it wine, made from pomegranates or grapes, or perhaps blended from both? The term "shedeh" has no translation in modern English, and the only Egyptian text that chronicled how it was made said it was filtered and heated - but the papyrus it was found on was incomplete. Whatever it was, shedeh was apparently a beverage fit for the pharaohs: King Tutankhamun's tomb contained an amphora of the liquor.

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    Midas's Beer

    Photo: Internet Archive Book Images / flickr / No known copyright restrictions

    Tumulus MM, the giant, man-made tomb of an ancient Anatolian king dubbed Midas, had a lot of beer in it. More specifically, there was a funeral feast laid out in this monarch's tomb, complete with wooden tables, 157 vessels for drinking, and even ancient beer.

    Archaeologists analyzed the cauldrons used at this feast to see what kind of beverage the ancient Phrygians brewed. It was a yummy-sounding mixture of grape wine, honey mead, and barley beer. A modern spin on the recipe is marketed and sold as Midas's Touch beer.

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