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Drink, also popular as a beverage, is any liquid that human beings consume. Drinks, which are universally prepared may complement solid food or may be served independently. Different types of drinks are consumed for different purposes which may be for quenching thirst, for taste, for their nutritional or medicinal worth, their influence on the human cognitive system, or even simply for social purposes. A beverage is one of the easiest items to prepare and generally takes lesser than that taken for preparing solid dishes. Some people, who have less time to spare for cooking, want to lose weight, do not have teeth, have faulty digestive system, and prefer to substitute solid meal courses with nourishing drinks, though this should be done under strict medical supervision. Water is probably the simplest of all drinks on earth. Popular drink recipes include

A drink is ideally poured in a tall container, a cup or a glass from which the consumer sips the drink as teeth are not used in the process. For drinking, no serving aids like spoons or forks are used. Drinks are generally believed to be a lighter substitute for heavy solid foods; however this is dependent on the constituent ingredients of the drink. A dessert drink made up of rich and creamy milk with chopped fatty nuts will definitely be heavier food in comparison to a modest fruit salad which has lower calorie ingredients.

History of Drinks

The history of drinks dates back to the time the earth was formed and life forms came into existence as many of them depended on water, which is the first drink on the planet, not only for human beings but for a lot of other living beings. Beer is one of the most ancient drinks and is said to have been made even before writing was invented. This drink which came into existence around 8000 years ago was first mentioned in the ancient Egyptian and Celtic archeological evidences. Slowly this alcoholic drink spread to other countries of Europe also. Wine also features amongst ancient drinks as is evidenced by its usage in the Middle Eastern culture. Mead is a honey-based drink popular with the ancient Egyptians.

The Anglo-Saxon ale, cider and mead, the Arabian lemonade and the Eastern European vodka are some of the drinks of the Middle Ages( the 12th and 13 centuries). The drinks of the 17 century included cider and Perry with the consumption of cider going really high in the century. Wine was a drink of the aristocratic society. The 17 century saw some major inventions in the world of alcoholic beverages. The Scottish invented Whiskey and the Caribbean, rum. Gin was invented in Holland. Coffee, the universal hot daily beverage, was invented by the Arabs in 1000 AD. Though tea was invented by the Chinese much before the 17 century it was made popular in the European culture only during the 17th century. Champagne, the much-loved celebratory beverage was also invented in the same century which also saw people using cocoa for making beverages by the Central Americans. The Mexican Spaniards first prepared the Tequila during this period.

The first carbonated drink made which offset the production of fizzy drinks was prepared by Joseph Priestley in 1772 AD. Vermouth was invented by the Italians in the same century.

The 19th century saw the invention of nutritional drinks with Horlicks and Ovaltine being invented in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dr. Pepper, Coca Cola, Vimto, Tizer were the other drinks that were invented during this period. India Pale Ale and the Bohemian Golden Lager were also invented in this century.

Ingredients Used in Drinks and their Preparation

A drink may be made up of different types of ingredients. Milk, fruit juices, chocolate, flavoring agents, tea, coffee, alcohol are the different ingredients with which drinks are generally made. Drinking alcohol (ethanol) is used for making a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Water is an essential base for many drinks as it is used to mix and dilute the drink to the desired consistency.

A drink may be prepared in different ways:

Blending- It is one of the most common methods of preparing drinks. The constituent liquids are poured into a blender which combines them thoroughly. Fruit juices are blended to make cocktail drinks with or without alcohol. A number of dessert drinks including the milkshake are prepared by this process.

Brewing – This process comprising of a number sub-processes is the method in which beer is produced. Essentially a malt based ingredient is fermented by this process to produce beer. This is different from the process used to brew tea or coffee which involves boiling tea/ coffee powder in water. The flavors of the ingredient are extracted in the preparation of tea by a process called steeping, whereas in the traditional method of preparation of coffee, a concentrated solution of coffee is extracted by the preparation of a decoction. Steeping essentially refers to a method of saturating the solution with the steeped ingredient which in this case is tea. The longer the tea leaves/ powder is soaked in water, the stronger the solution will be. Espresso coffee, a tasty version of the normal coffee with a frothy topping, is achieved by pressurizing hot water into powdered coffee granules by using a coffee machine.

Stirring and mixing- This is a simple process in which the drink is prepared by simply mixing the ingredients, over moderate heat if necessary. Many drink recipes require a powder to be mixed with hot milk or water and stirring the mixture well.

A number of drinks need to be chilled before being served in which case the preparations are put in the refrigerator for a specified period of time. Soft drinks are prepared commercially.

Popular Drink Recipes

A drink, as mentioned already, may belong to any of these classes:

Non- alcoholic drinks – this category includes all beverages that contain alcohol to a very low extent. For example beer, wine and cider which contain very less alcohol belong to this category of drinks.

Alcoholic drinks- These drinks contain a significant percentage of drinking alcohol( ethanol) which may also be high enough to cause intoxication in the consumer. Beer, whiskey, rum, brandy are all different types of alcoholic drinks.

Soft Drinks- These do not contain alcohol at all. They are so named because those drinks that contain alcohol are often called hard drinks. Iced tea, lemonade, cola, fruit punch and squash are different types of soft drinks. Soft drinks are also known as ‘cool drinks’ because they are popularly served as coolers, mostly during the summers. Soft drinks include a number of fizzy drinks (carbonated drinks) which are a favorite of the younger generations but are often considered unhealthy.

Fruit Juices and punch- Fruit juices are prepared by extracting the juice of a single fruit or mixing the juices of two or three fruits. Pineapple, grapefruit, orange, lemon, apple, and mango are all used for making fruit juices. A punch is a fruit beverage made with a combination of a fruit juice and solid fruit pieces. The beverage may be made by including a non-alcoholic element. These drinks may be served as appetizers or as refreshments in between meals.

Cocktail drinks- These are a blend of two or more drinks, generally alcoholic drinks. They are made especially for parties. Cocktails are also made in combination with fruit juices and soda. Other ingredients that may be used are honey, milk or cream.

Hot drinks- This consists of a number of drinks. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk, cappuccino, latte, frappe and hot cider are all different types of hot drinks. A number of energy drinks are consumed hot. Horlicks, Ovaltine, Complan and Bournvita are only a few of the vast array of energy drink recipes that are being prepared commercially today.

Serving Drinks

A drink may be served as an appetizer, refreshment, a dessert drink, or as a nutritional food early in the morning. Drinks are a part of everyday diet menu and also party special menu. Serving drinks, especially alcoholic drink is an art. Certain drinks need to be served with accompaniments. Tea is best served with tea biscuits and coffee with coffee cakes. Alcoholic drinks may be served with nuts like roasted almonds. Drinks made of vegetable and fruit juices are served as appetizers. Soft drinks are served during hot weather conditions in a chilled state for maximum satisfaction.

Health and Nutrition facts about Drinks

The nutritive value of a drink obviously depends on its constituent ingredients. Water, the simplest of all drinks, is said to contain a number of minerals beneficial to the human health. Fruit juices are considered to be very healthy owing to the high nutritional worth of fruits from which the juices are extracted. The purity of the juices plays an important role in determining the nutritional worth of the fruit juice. Juices diluted with water and/or those containing synthetic flavoring and coloring agents are not considered beneficial for health. Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks are considered harmful for the human health.