Mark Lawrence Schrad:
The Times of India, July 2 2013:
The Economist, December 20 2001:
"...It may be small—each molecule is less than a billionth of a metre long, and consists of a handful of atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen—but ethyl alcohol makes an excellent time machine. People have enjoyed alcoholic drinks since prehistoric times, making drinking one of the few strands that runs throughout the history of western civilisation. Appreciating the art, music or literature of long-vanished cultures can require years of study; recreating their drinks, and comparing them to what we enjoy today, is simple in comparison, not to mention more fun. The consumption of alcohol is so widespread in history, says Patrick McGovern, an archaeological chemist at the University of Pennsylvania, that drinking is, in effect, “a universal language”.."
The chart in The Economist dated June 17 2013 is very informative.China's national liquor baijiu accounts for a whopping 99.5% of all spirits consumed there. So China does not even feature in rankings of the best-known internationally consumed spirits in The Economist charts. Indi
Among branded liquor, Vodka is the most popular in the world, 4.44 litres, billion.
On Vodka drinking, Serge Schmemann wrote in NYT April 15 2007:
"...The European Union would define vodka simply as diluted ethyl alcohol, which is, of course, what it is. ...vodka is a Russian word, a diminutive of “water” (before you adopt an ironic smile, be aware that “whiskey” comes from the Gaelic for “water of life”)...My beef is with the whole brouhaha over a liquor whose greatest, and only, virtue is that it is colorless and tasteless...the proliferation of premium vodkas, in ever fancier bottles and at ever higher prices, is understandable, given the decadence of the Western world. The endless debates about which vodka “tastes” better are less so..."