Sit back and relax as we turn the pages of history to the times when 4 of your favourite beverages were discovered.

1. Coffee

Do you know? The United States imports in excess of $4 billion worth of coffee per year!

The coffee you are drinking can’t speak for itself, so we are here to tell you the story of its birth!

The most popular legend of coffee’s birth usually goes something like this:

Kaldi was an Abyssinian goat herder from Kaffa in Ethiopia.

One day he was herding his goats through the plains near a monastery.
Suddenly he noticed a change in the behavior of the goats. He noticed that they had been acting very strangely that day.

The reason why he felt so was that all of a sudden, the goats had begun to jump around in an excited manner, bleating loudly, and dancing on their hind legs.

He did a little investigation and found that the source of the excitement was a small shrub which had bright red berries.

Who wouldn’t need a bit of proactiveness? Everyone does! Kaldi tried the berries for himself.

Surprisingly just like his goats, Kaldi felt the energizing forces of the coffee cherries.

He filled his pockets with the red berries, rushed home to his wife. His wife excitedly advised him to go to the nearby monastery in order to share those “heavenly” berries with the monks.

To his dismay, his coffee beans were not greeted with elation, but with disdain. A monk even called Kaldi’s deed “the work of the devil” and tossed it into the fire.

However, as the legend goes, the aroma of the roasting beans was enough to make the monks give this fad a second chance.

They pulled out all the coffee from the fire, crushed them to put out the glowing embers and covered them with hot water in a jar to preserve them.

Later, the smell of the aroma of the coffee brought all the monks in the monastery to try it.

Just like the tea-drinking monks of China and Japan, these monks found that coffee’s effects were helpful in keeping them awake during their spiritual practices.

2. Whiskey

The art of distillation arrived in Ireland and Scotland around the 15th century, just the same time when the common European started practicing distillation of “aqua vitae” or spirit alcohol.
Primarily this was done for medicinal purposes.

The earliest mention of whiskey was in the seventeenth century in the book Annals of Clonmacnoise, which connects the death of a chieftain in 1405 to “taking a surfeit of aqua vitae” at Christmas.

In Scotland, the first evidence of whiskey production comes from an entry in the Exchequer Rolls for 1494 where malt is sent to Friar John Cor, as an order by the king, to make aqua vitae. The order initially was of 500 bottles.

King James IV of Scotland had a great liking for Scotch whiskey, and in 1506, the town of Dundee purchased a large amount of whiskey from the Guild of Barber Surgeons.

The Guild of Barber Surgeons held the monopoly on production at that time. Just wonder the amount of money they’d be making by then!

Between 1536 and 1541, King Henry VIII of England destroyed all the monasteries.
Now whiskey production moved out of a monastic environment into personal homes and farms as independent monks needed to find a way to earn money.

The distillation process was still in its babyhood back then. Initially the whiskey was not allowed to age, and as a result, it tasted very raw and brutal when you compare it to today’s versions.

Only one distillery had the license to distil Irish whiskey in 1608, the Old Bushmills Distillery in Northern Ireland – it is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world.

3. Tea

The origin of tea is in China. You can’t deny that!
However, the origin has a lot of different legends.

The first legend goes like this:
Shennong was a legendary emperor of China and inventor of agriculture and Chinese medicine. Once, he was drinking a bowl of boiled water due to an order that his subjects must boil water before drinking it.

A few leaves blew from a nearby tree, fell into his water, and changed its color and taste. The emperor took a sip of the new brew and it was pleasant! This emperor was left surprised by its flavour and restorative properties.

Later, according to the legend, the emperor tested the medical properties of various herbs on himself and found tea to work as an antidote.
Shennong has also got a mention in Lu Yu’s famous early work in the monograph, The Classic of Tea.

A similar Chinese legend says that the God of agriculture used to chew the leaves, stems, and roots of different plants to discover medicinal herbs. To detox the harmful effects of a poisonous plant, he would chew tea leaves to neutralize the poison.

One more legend dates back to the Tang Dynasty. Bodhidharma, the founder of Chan Buddhism, once accidentally fell asleep after meditating in front of a wall for nine years.

When he woke he was disgusted by his weakness and he cut off his own eyelids. They fell and went beneath the soil to grow into roots. These further grew into tea bushes. Sometimes, one more version of the story is told with Gautama Buddha in place of Bodhidharma.

Scholars, however, believe that tea drinking originated in the southwest of China and that the Chinese words for tea were originally derived from the Austro-Asiatic languages of the people who at that time inhabited the area.

4. Mojito

Thank the pirates for they were the ones who are credited with Mojito’s formation!

Havana, Cuba is the birthplace of the most popular cocktail Mojito.

One story traces the Mojito to a 16th-century drink known as “El Draque”. This was named after Sir Francis Drake. In 1586, after a successful raid at Cartagena de Indias, Drake’s ships sailed towards Havana but an epidemic broke on the way which brought dysentery and scurvy on board.

Back then, the local South American Indians were known to have remedies for various tropical illnesses. A small boarding party went offshore on Cuba and came back with ingredients for some of the most effective medicines.

The ingredients were aguardiente de caña or burning water, mixed with some local tropical ingredients: lime, sugarcane juice, and mint.

Lime juice on its own has the power to prevent scurvy and dysentery. Rum was added to it as it became widely available to the British. Mint, lime, and sugar aided in hiding the harsh taste of the spirit. This drink was not called Mojito at that time, but Mojito is a combination of these things right?

Theories behind the origin of the name Mojito:
One theory explains that the name relates to mojo which is a Cuban seasoning made from lime and used to flavor dishes.
Some people also believe that Mojito is simply a derivative of mojadito (English translation – a little wet).

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