Trivia about alcohol are fun! Amaze your friends and relatives. These trivia about alcohol appear in 12 categories.
A fact that surprises most people is this. Standard drinks of beer, wine, and liquor or distilled spirits all contain the same amount of pure alcohol. Each has six-tenths of an ounce.
- Cultural Traditions
- Bottles, Corks, Etc.
- Health & Safety
- From the Past
- Alcohol Itself
- Words & Phrases
Trivia about Alcohol
I. Trivia about Alcohol: Drinks
- Bourbon is the official spirit of the U.S., by act of Congress. 54
- Adding a miniature onion to a martini turns it into a Gibson. 38
- A tequini is a martini made with tequila instead of dry gin. 41
- The Manhattan cocktail (whiskey and sweet vermouth) was invented by Winston Churchill’s mother. 5
- A raisin dropped into a glass of champagne will repeatedly bounce up and down. 2.5
- Early wine makers saw bubbles in Champagne as a highly undesirable defect to be prevented. 3.1
- Shochu is a beverage distilled from barley. It was the favorite beverage of the world’s longest-living man. He was Shigechiyo Izumi of Japan. Izumi lived for 120 years and 237 days. He was born on June 29, 1865 and died on February 21, 1986. 52
- Wine has about the same number of calories as an equal amount of grape juice.4.10
- Johnny Appleseed distributed apple seeds across the American frontier. People wanted to make “hard” cider) rather than eat apples. 4.11
- White wine gets darker as it ages while red wine gets lighter. 4.12
- Spectators at Indy car races drink more blush wine than the average American. That’s according to interviews of 200,000 adults in the top 75 markets. The inteviews also found that golfers drink domestic beer 64% more often than imported beer. And also that attendees of R&B, rap or hip-hop concerts are 94% more likely to drink champagne. 5
- One brand of Chinese beer reportedly includes in its recipe “ground-up dog parts.” Make mine gin and tonic! 20
- The longest bar in the world is 684 feet (or about 208.5 meters) long. It’s at the New Bulldog in Rock Island, Illinois. 39
- A bar is now located in the New York City building that once housed the National Temperance Society. 40
- The U.S. Marines’ first recruiting station was in a bar. 53
- In West Virginia, bars can advertise alcohol beverage prices, but not brand names. 4.7
- Tom Arnold, Sandra Bullock, Chevy Chase, Bill Cosby, Kris Kristofferson, and Bruce Willis are all former bartenders. 1
- Don’t swallow in Utah! Wine used in wine tastings in Utah must not be swallowed!37
- In Malaysia, police jail drunk drivers and their spouses. 4.19
- The word “liquor” is prohibited on storefronts in some states of the U.S.12
- Within a 15-year period, the U.S. passed over 2,300 anti-drunk-driving laws. If laws could solve a problem, there wouldn’t be any drunk driving today! 17
- When police first used breathalyzers (BAC estimators) the maximum legal BAC was .15. That’s almost twice as high as the current standard of .08.62
- Liquor stores in the US are called “package stores” and sell “package goods.” That’s because because of laws requiring that alcohol containers be concealed in public. Therefore, they’re placed in paper bags or “packages.” 3.2
- Sucking on pennies will have no affect on the results of a breathalyzer test. (Therefore, doing so makes no cents!) 16
IV. Cultural Traditions
- The consumption of alcohol was so widespread throughout history that it has been called “a universal language.” 50
- A young Tiriki man may offer beer to a woman. If she then spits some of it into his mouth, they are engaged to be married. Hmmmmm…..that makes the single life seem a little more attractive. 6
- Among the Bagonda people of Uganda, the several widows of a recently deceased king have a distinctive honor. It’s to drink the beer in which his entrails have been cleaned. 7
- The Lepcha people of Tibet believe alcohol to be the only proper payment for teachers.8
- The Chagga people of Tanganyika have an interesting belief. It’s that a liar will be poisoned after drinking beer mixed with the blood of a recently sacrificed goat. 9
- When two Chagga men become blood brothers they drink beer mixed with their saliva and blood. 10
V. Bottles, Corks, Etc.
- The pressure in a bottle of champagne is about 90 pounds per square inch. That’s about three times the pressure in automobile tires. 29
- As late as the mid-17th century, French wine makers didn’t use corks. Instead, they used oil-soaked rags stuffed into the necks of bottles. 2.6
- The longest recorded champagne cork flight was 177 feet and 9 inches, four feet from level ground. It was at Woodbury Vineyards in New York State. 2.8
- The purpose of the indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle is to strengthen the bottle. 2.10
- The world’s largest cork tree is in Portugal. It averages over one ton of raw cork per harvest. That’s enough to cork 100,000 bottles. 27
- The average number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine is 600. 23
- In the US, a barrel of beer contains 31 gallons. That would make about 330 12 ounce bottles or cans.2.11
VI. Trivia about Alcohol: Prohibition
- Rhode Island never ratified the 18th Amendment establishing National Prohibition. 4.3
- There are 83 dry (prohibition) towns and villages in Alaska.4.6
- The Soviet Bolsheviks (communists) were strict drys and quickly imposed national prohibition following the Russian Revolution. 28
- Opposition to the enforcement of Prohibition increased as people became disillusioned with the Noble Experiment. Montana was the first state to repeal its enforcement of Prohibition, doing so in 1926. (National Prohibition lasted from early 1920 through 1933.) 51
- Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President of the U.S. in 1932 on a pledge to end National Prohibition.48
- National Prohibition led to a boom in the cruise industry. People took “cruises to nowhere.” People could legally drink alcohol as soon as the ships entered international waters. There they would typically cruise in circles. The cruises quickly became known as “booze cruises.” 63
VII. Health & Safety
None of these facts are medical advice. Always see a doctor for medical that.
- Sixty-two percent of Americans report that they have used the service of a designated driver. 46
- Only 30% of adults in the U.S. know that drinking can be part of a healthy, balanced life. However, moderate drinking is associated with better health and greater longevity than is abstention.
- The region of the U.S. that consumes the least alcohol is the “Bible Belt.” Many doctors call it “Stroke Alley.” 3.5
- Drinking lowers rather than raises the body temperature. There is an illusion of increased heat because alcohol causes the capillaries to dilate and fill with more warm blood.4.2
- Letters from “drink to your health” can be used to spell “ideal heart diet.” Drinking alcohol in moderation reduces the risk of heart disease by an average of about 40%. 13
- One or two alcohol drinks a day can be anti-inflammatory. 22
- Gin is a mild diuretic which helps the body get rid of excessive fluid. Thus, it can reduce problems such as menstrual bloating.31
- Gin and tonic can help relieve cramps. 24
VIII. From the Past
- The national anthem, the “Star-Spangled Banner,” was written to the tune of a drinking song. 2.1
- Christopher Columbus brought Sherry on his voyage to the New World. 44
- As Magellan prepared to sail around the world in 1519, he spent more on Sherry than on weapons. 45
- Vassar College was established and funded by a brewer. 47
- The Pilgrims landed at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts, rather than continue sailing. That’s because they were running out of supplies, especially beer. 3b
- The corkscrew was invented in 1860.2.7
- During World War II, a group of alpine soldiers were stranded in mountain snows. They survived for an entire month on nothing but a cask of sherry. 4.14
- Being intoxicated had desirable spiritual significance to the ancient Egyptians. They often gave their children names like “How Drunk is Cheops” or “How Intoxicated is Hathor.” 3a
- During World War II, prohibition activists argued that soldiers should not be permitted to drink alcohol beverages. However, General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, insisted that such prohibition would be ‘harmful to the men in the service.” 49
IX. Alcohol Itself
- There is a cloud of alcohol in outer space with enough alcohol to make four trillion-trillion drinks. It’s free for the taking. . . but it’s 10,000 light years away from Earth. 4.8
- It’s impossible to create a beverage of over 18% alcohol by fermentation alone. 4.17
- Temperance activists strongly opposed the consumption of alcohol. However, they typically consumed patent medicines. And just like whiskey, they generally contained 40% alcohol! 4.18
- The body or lightness of whiskey is primarily determined by the size of the grain from which it is made. The larger the grain, the lighter the whiskey. For example, whiskey made from rye, with its small grain size, is bigger or fuller-bodied. On the other hand, whiskey made from corn, with its large grain size, is much lighter. 42
- Each molecule of alcohol is less than a billionth of a meter long. It consists of a few atoms of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. 43
- One glass of milk can give a person a .02 BAC on a Breathalyzer test. That’s enough in some states for persons under age 21 to lose their drivers license and be fined. 55
- Fermentation within the body is essential for human life to exist. 57
- At the request of a distiller, Louis Pasteur began his pioneering research by investigating the process of fermentation. That’s the process by which all alcohol beverages and many other foods are produced. 58
- Fermentation is involved in the production of many foods. They include bread, sauerkraut, coffee, black tea, cheese, yogurt, and buttermilk. Also pickles, cottage cheese, chocolate, vanilla, ginger, catsup, mustard, soy sauce, and many more. 59
- In the 1600’s thermometers were filled with brandy instead of mercury. 2.4
- In the 1800’s, people thought rum was excellent for cleaning hair and keeping it healthy. And they thought brandy strengthed hair roots. 2.9
- Most vegetable, and virtually all fruit juices, contain alcohol. 4.5
- Alcohol consumption decreases during the time of the full moon. 4.1
X. Words & Phrases
- “Whiskey” is the international aviation word used to represent the letter “w.” 4.4
- Letters from “increase alcohol taxes” can be used to spell “Alert: Halt excess excise taxes on alcohol.” Heavy taxes, more than double the price of a typical bottle of distilled spirits beverage. That encourages the production and sale of dangerous bootleg alcohol.” 56
- A labeorphilist is a collector of beer bottles.
- When re-arranged, the letters in “whiskey” spell “key wish.” Those in “spirits” spell “sip it sir.” And those in “moonshine” spell “in no homes.”
- Methyphobia is fear of alcohol. 3.3
- The term “brand name” originated among American distillers, who branded their names and emblems on their kegs before shipment. 3.4
- Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb or finger into the liquid to determine the ideal temperature. That is, neither too hot nor too cold, for adding yeast. From this we get the phrase “rule of thumb.” 3.7
- Dipsomania refers to an abnormal or insatiable craving for alcohol. 3.8
- In ancient Babylon, the bride’s father would supply his son-in-law with mead. That’s fermented honey beverage. And it was all the mead he could drink for a month after the wedding. Their calendar was lunar or moon-based. So this period of free mead was called the “honey month.” Or what we now call the “honeymoon.” 3.6
- In old England, a whistle was baked into the rim or handle of ceramic cups used by pub patrons. When they wanted a refill, they used the whistle to get service. So when people went drinking, they would “wet their whistle.” 3.9
- “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” isn’t the only sentence including all the letters of the alphabet. Another such sentence is “Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.”
- The word “toast,” meaning a wish of good health, started in ancient Rome. There a piece of toasted bread was dropped into wine. 3.10
- In English pubs drinks are served in pints and quarts. In old England, bartenders would advise unruly customers to mind their own pints and quarts. It’s the origin of “mind your P’s and Q’s.” 3.11
- Do you like isyammitilka or ksikonewiw? Those are the words for alcohol beverage among the Alabama and the Maliseet-Passamaquoddy tribes of Native American peoples. 3.12
- “There’s no free lunch.” Pennsylvania outlawed free lunches in 1917. The purpose was simple. It was to prevent taverns from giving free sandwiches to customers who bought beer to drink with them. This led some to sell sandwiches and give away the beer. 4.13
XI. Trivia about Alcohol: Money
- Beer and Bras. British men have been found twice as likely to know the price of their beer as their partner’s bra size. A poll found that 77% of males knew how much their beer costs. However, only 38% knew the correct size of ther partner’s bra. 15
- The bill for a celebration party for the 55 drafters of the US Constitution listed the alcohol. It was for 54 bottles of Madeira, 60 bottles of claret, 8 bottles of whiskey, and 22 bottles of port. Also 8 bottles of hard cider, 12 beers and seven bowls of alcohol punch . It was large enough that “ducks could swim in them.”
- The federal government takes in 14 times more in taxes on spirits than producers of the products earn making them. That does not include what states and localities additionally take in taxes on the same products. 4.14a
- Like to open a restaurant? Expect to pay over $35,000 for a restaurant liquor license in Philadelphia. Although that’s expensive, it’s a bargain compared to obtaining one in Evesham Township (New Jersey) at over $475,000. Or one in Mount Laurel (New Jersey) at over $675,000. No wonder restaurants have such a high failure rate. 18
- In Bangladesh, $5 will buy a beer or a first-class train ticket for a cross-country trip. 21
- Move over, Mickey. Napa valley has replaced Disneyland as California’s number one trourist destination, with 5.5 million visitors per year. 25
XII. People: Trivia about Alcohol
- Candy Lightner was the founder of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). She resigned after MADD became increasingly anti-alcohol rather than simply anti-drunk-driving.
- The shallow champagne glass originated with Marie Antoinette. It was first formed from wax molds made of her breasts. 2.2
- The Grinch That Drank Alcohol. Theodore Geisel (better known as Dr. Seus) was caught with alcohol in his room when he was a student at Dartmouth College and severely punished. Years later, the college awarded him an honorary doctorate. 32
- President Lincoln was informed that General Grant drank whiskey while leading his troops. He reportedly replied “Find out the name of the brand so I can give it to my other generals.” 2
- Martha Washington enjoyed daily toddys. In the 1790s, “happy hour” began at 3:00 p.m. and cocktails continued until dinner. 36
- Abraham Lincoln stated that “It has long been recognized that the problems with alcohol relate not to the use of a bad thing, but to the abuse of a good thing.” 14
- President Jimmy Carter’s mother said “I’m a Christian, but that doesn’t mean I’m a long-faced square. I like a little bourbon.” 4.15
- President Thomas Jefferson was the new U.S nation’s first wine expert. 4.16
- Adolf Hitler was one of the world’s best known teetotalers or abstainers from alcohol; his adversary during WW II, Sir Winston Churchill, was one of the world’s best known heavy drinkers. 34
- The favorite cocktails of several former Presidents include:
– Gin and tonic (Gerald Ford)
– Martini (Herbert Hoover)
– Rum and coke (Richard Nixon)
– Scotch or brandy (Franklin Roosevelt)
– Bourbon (Harry Truman) 35
- Shakespeare referred (in Love’s Labour Lost, Act 5, Scent 1) to a game called “flap-dragon.” The players snatched raisins from a dish of burning brandy. Then they extinguished them in their mouths before eating them.19
- Abraham Lincoln’s 1833 liquor store license is on display in the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown, Kentucky. 61
- Desi Arnaz’s grandfather was one of the founders of the largest rum distillery in the world. 1
- During the reign of William III, a garden fountain was once used as a giant punch bowl. The recipe included 560 gallons of brandy, and 1,200 pounds of sugar. Also 25,000 lemons, 20 gallons of lime juice, and five pounds of nutmeg. The bartender rowed around in a small boat, filling up guests’ punch cups. 1
- Frederick the Great of Prussia tried to ban the consumption of coffee and demanded that the populace drink alcohol instead. 1
- President Lyndon Johnson would ride around his Texas ranch in an open convertible in hot weather. He drank his scotch and soda from a foam cup. Periodically, Johnson would slow down and hold his left arm outside the car. A Secret Service agent would run up to the car, take the cup and go back to the station wagon. The wagon was following the President’s car. Another agent would refill it with as the first agent trotted behind the vehicle. Then the first agent would run the refilled cup up to LBJ’s outstretched hand. The President’s car moved slowly forward.” 60
- Asimov, I. (Ed.) Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts.
- Corey, M., and Ochoa, G. American History: The New York Public Library Book of Answers.
- Del Re, G., et al. The Only Book. A Compendium of One-Of-A-Kind Facts.
- Downs, L. , and Weiss, D. So You Think Youre Good at Trivia. Good for trivia about alcohol.
- Goodgold, E. and Carlinsky, D. Trivia and More Trivia.
- Kearney, M. The Great Canadian Trivia Book 2.
- Lee, L. The Name’s Familiar. Mr. Leonard, Barbie, and Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.
- Louis, D. 2201 Fascinating Facts.
- Marbles, J. The College of Obscure Knowledge. A Lighthearted Look at an Odd Collection of Trivia.
- Newman, S. and Fittipaldi, H. 15,003 Answers: the Ultimate Trivia Book.
- Schoenberg, I. Talk About Trivia: 1001 Questions.
- Spignesi, S. J. The Odd Index: The Ultimate Compendium of Bizarre and Unusual Facts.
- Vorhees, D. The Book of Totally Useless Facts.
- Vorhees, D. The Ultimate Bathroom Book of Useless Information.
- Worth, F. The Complete Unabridged Super Trivia Book.
- Zotti, E. Know It All! The Fun Stuff.
Footnotes: Trivia about Alcohol
3a Eames, A. Secret Life of Beer, p. 42.
3b Ibid., p. 17.
6. Sangree, W. The Social Functions of Beer Drinking in Bantu Tiriki. In: Pittman, D., and Snyder, C. (Eds.). Society, Culture, and Drinking Patterns
7. Robbins, M., and Pollnac, R. Drinking patterns and acculturation in rural Buganda. Am Anthro, 71, 276-284.
8. Heath, D. Drinking Occasions, p. 179.
9. Washburne, C. Primitive Drinking.
10. Downes, R. The Tiv Tribe.
2.1. Mingo, J., and Barrett, E. Just Curious, Jeeves, p. 265.
2.2. www.absolutetrivia.com Good source of trivia about alcohol.
2.3. Ibid.; www.dipsomania.com
2.6. Prlewe, J. Wine From Grape to Glass, p. 110.
2.12. McNie, M. Champagne, p. 19.
3.1. Collin, P. (Ed.) Webster’s Student Dict.
3.2. www.dipsomania.com Excellent for trivia on alcohol.
3.3. Nachel, M. Alcohol and Your Body, www.realbeer.com
3.6. Collin, P. (Ed.) Webster’s Student Dict, p. 124.
3.7. www.fargoweb.com Good for trivia about alcohol.
3.12. Maliseet Dictionary. See
4.1 deCastro, J., and Pearcey, A. Lunar rhythms of the meal and alcohol intake of humans. Physio Behav, 57, 439-444.
4.3. www.absolutetrivia.com Source of many trivia about alcohol.
4.4. Talk Like a Pilot, p. 1.
4.5. Heath, D. Drinking Occasions, p. 136. Good for trivia about alcohol.
4.6. Burton, G. and Baird, J. Liquor a contentious, complicated cocktail in Utah politics, AP, Aug 5, 2011.
4.8. Elliott, P. 100 Proof: Tips and Tales for Spirited Drinkers, p. 28. Great for trivia about alcohol.
4.9. Ibid, p. 13
4.10. MacNeil, Karen. The Wine Bible, p. 77
4.11. Elliott, p. 13
4.12. MacNeil, p. 109
4.13. Elliott, p. 115
4.14. Ibid, p. 139
4.14a. Lopex, M. Demonizing the Alcohol Industry: CSPI. Organ. Trends, May, 1, 2013, pp. 3-5
4.15. Elliott, p. 4
4.16. MacNeil, p. 761
4.17. Elliott, p. 88
4.18. Ibid, p. 16
4.19. Ibid, p. 146
5. Shlachter, B. Not All Beer Drinkers are Boozin’ Slobs. Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Nov 7, 2017.
12. Spencer, D. To See or Not to See: Broown Baggin’. The Hill, June 20, 2018.
13. See “Heart & Circ” category
14. Ellison, R. Continuing reluctance to accept emerging scientific data on alcohol and health. AIM Dig, 11(1), 6-7
15. Let’s Get Sensible about Suds. Daily News (Phil, PA), Jan 11, 2019.
17. Nat Highway Traffic Safety Admin.
18. Klein, M. Restaurants Paying Much More to Pour. Phil Enq, June 9, 2012, page B4.
19. www.worldwidewords.org Good for word trivia about alcohol.
20. Espinoza, G. Drinking it in. USAirways Attache, 22.
22. Dr. Van Straten, M. The Benefits of Booze. The Express (London), July 23, 2012, p. 35.
23. www.damngoodwine.com/25things.htm Good source of trivia about alcohol.
24. Dr. Van Straten, M.
26. www.newsoftheweird.com Source of trivia about alcohol.
28. Temperance & Prohibition Trivia!
31. Dr. Van Strated, M. ibid.
33. Mothers Against Drunk Driving Annual Report.
34. Hoffmann, H. Hitler vie ihn Keiner Kennt.
35. The spirit of Washington. Elk Grove Cit, Feb 19, 2013.
36. Haught, R.L. Distilling the truth about George. Oklahoman, Feb 20, 2013.
37. UT Admin Code.
38. Mr. Boston Deluxe Bartender’s Guide, p. 174
39. Yenne, B., and Debolski, T. The Ultimate Book of Beer Trivia, pp. 101-102.
40. Ibid, pp. 89-90.
41. Mr. Boston Deluxe Bartender’s Guide, p. 174.
42. Ford, G. ABCs of Wines, Brews, & Spirits, p. 146. Good for finding trivia about alcohol.
43. The History of Drinking: Uncorking the Past. The Econ, 12-22-01, p. 29.
44. Ibid, p. 30.
45. Ibid, p. 31.
46. Joseph, L., and Ahrens, R. Most have designated a driver. USA Today, Dec 28, 2011, p. 1A.
47. Yenne, B., and Debolski, T. The Ultimate Book of Beer Trivia, pp. 75-76. Major source of trivia about alcohol.
48. Ibid, pp. 83-84.
49. Ibid, pp. 81-82.
50. Dr. Patrick McGovern quoted in The history of Drinking: Uncorking the Past. The Econ, Dec 22, 2011, p. 29.
51. Yenne, B., and Debolski, T. The Ultimate Book of Beer Trivia, pp. 103-104.
52. Guinness World Records 2012, p. 19.
53. Duane Flint, Marine Corps, pers comm.
54. Defining “Bourbon.” The State (Columbia, SC), May1, 2012, p. D1.
55. Quick Facts on Alcohol and Driving. Quality L.I.F.E. (www.qualitylife.org/facts_on_alcohol.html.)
56. See “Moonshine is Risky”
57. Fermentation. The Columbia Encyc, 6th ed.
58. Williams, G. The Age of Miracles.
59. Dokken, L. and Schmidt, B. Fermentation in the Food Industry.
60. Joseph A. Califano, Jr., quoted in Presidential Vehicles. Nat Park service website.
61. Museum details history of bourbon. Post-Gaz, April 23, 2017.
62. Testing for alcohol levels started 70 years ago. Star-Trib, April 3, 2014.
63. Cruising Through History. In Gordon, L. Caribbean Cruises, p. 33.
This concludes the trivia about alcohol.
Know of any trivia about alcohol not here? If so, please contact hansondj [sign for at] potsdam [dot] edu/. Many thanks for your help!