1. The discovery of beer and its distinctive properties greatly affected the transition from the nomadic hunter-gatherers to a "civilized" farming based society. Using cereal grains as a food source was common, but the discovery of the fact that they can be stored if kept dry caused the people to "collect, process, and store grain" as well as "harvesting cereal grains, [weaving] baskets for carrying them, [building] stone hearths for drying them,... and grindstones for processing them"(13). Because of this, people started to permanently settle in small huts and store grain. It was difficult to keep the containers of grains waterproof, and this led to a discovery: gruel that is left alone for days will ferment and become beer. This "accidental" dink received pleasant reactions, and was part of social gatherings and religious assemblies. Furthermore, beer was safer and more sanitary than plain water. Soon, the people began to plant, harvest, and process their own cereal grains in order to make beer. Ultimately, it can be stated that beer directly influenced the transformation from hunter-gatherer tribes to agricultural based societies, and advanced humanity a step unto a more domesticated and "civilized" lifestyle.
2. Gender inequality associated with drinking wine was prominent in ancient Greece. Men could participate in many activities, such as political discussions, social gatherings, religious rituals, and private drinking parties (called symposion) where wine drinking took place, but women were not allowed to. Although not permitted to participate in the symposion, food was often served to the men by female servers while female dancers and musicians performed (56). This shows that women were seen as lower ranking, and therefore only allowed to be servers and entertainers for the men. Additionally, they were not given consent to participate in many political or religious events, which are generally seen as "business for men". Excluding women from wine drinking (and the activities associated with it) left may women "behind" and greatly promoted the belief of male dominance.
3. Wine was accepted as a ritual drink in Christianity because of Christ's interactions and usage of it. However, Islam's prohibition of alcohol (even for medical purposes) was reinforced by Muhammad. "According to the bible, Christ's first miracle...was the transformation of six jars of water into wine at a wedding..."; additionally Christ "[offered wine] to his disciples at the Last Supper"(85). Wine and bread soon became known as Christ's body and blood. This link connecting Christianity to wine remained strong, but was challenged by Muhammad. After witnessing a fight between two disciples during a drinking party, Muhammad stated that "wine and games of chance...are abominations devised by Satan'" (87). Furthermore, one will prosper if wine and alcohol is avoided. With the expansion of Islam, the religious wine (as shown in Christianity) was made illegal to its followers, causing wine's popularity to decline in the Islam world but remain powerful in Christianity.
4. I do agree that "distilled drinks, alongside firearms and infectious diseases, helped to reshape the modern world by helping the inhabitants of the Old World to establish themselves as rulers of the New World" (129). The 3 elements (guns, distilled drinks, and diseases) each contributed to the transition from an era to another by changing the people. Guns and weapons, which may be associated with war, took many lives and empires, but also built new and increasingly powerful lands. Additionally, infectious diseases killed many people but left survivors that were stronger and more prepared to face future challenges. As shown in Stsandage's book, distilled drinks greatly influenced the arts (there are many stories and legends about them) and promote thinking, new ideas ,and new laws that shape history. Together, these three elements had that capability to modify and…