In ancient Egypt, people drank beer or wine. The aristocracy enjoyed sweet wine spiced with honey and the juice of pomegranates. There was red or white wine, with the wine of Buto in the Delta being considered some of the best, but wine was also imported from Syria, Palestine and Greece. The ordinary Egyptian drank beer, made from fermented barley bread and sieved first to remove the bits, and the results are familiar enough: ‘Thou art like a broken steering-oar in a ship,’ says a school text from the New Kingdom, ‘…Men run away from before thee, for thou inflictest wounds on them… Thou dost reel, and fallest on thy belly and art besmirched with dirt.’
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A drink common to ancient Roman and northern European lands was mead, made of honey and water. Mead was the drink of choice at Anglo-Saxon feasts. Because drinking water was so often impure in the ancient world, ale was the 'everyday' drink, but mead was for feasting. There were mead halls and, in the halls, mead benches, where men sat drinking side by side. Drinking horns and glasses were richly ornamented and highly prized. Anglo-Saxon wine, some grown from grapes that could flourish in the south of England, was light, quickly consumed and not very strong. Ale, drunk by all ages, was a
Magnus and Elfrida, hero and heroine in my medieval Christmas romance, "The Snow Bride" know mead, as do Conrad and Maggie, hero and heroine of my holiday romance "Sir Conrad and the Christmas Treasure."
(All pictures from Wikimedia Commons).