An Ethnographical Survey of Beverages

by Liz Colville

Jimmy Chen’s rundown of some of the most popular beverages in the world is pretty wonderful. No time is given to Vitamin Water or anything silly like that, but his survey does cover beer, wine, juice, coffee, and tea.

On beer:

When a “buzz” becomes full on drunkenness, the subject will either be exceptionally jovial or violent, and people always hope for the former…The foamy part which resides at the top of a glass is called “head,” perhaps a wishful semantic bj.

On wine:

…the central component in approaching intimacy with a date, by both its romantic evocations and alcohol content (12.5% by vol). It can be an alcoholic’s “surrogate date,” during which he — or she, but in this contributor’s sorry case, he — finishes a bottle of Zinfandel by himself on a Friday or Saturday night while masochistically listening to obscure jazz.

On coffee:

Espresso is a highly concentrated kind of coffee which, as a shot or double shot, is very agile in its mediation with dairy.

On juice:

While theoretically derived from extracting “juice” from fruit’s pulp/fiber, modern juice is a highly mediated (agriculturally) and marketed (commercially) phenomenon, for ostensible juice is really just colored sugar water with relatively low amounts (~5–10%) of real juice. Hence, the consumer is empowered to choose between “real juice” and “ostensible juice,” paying more for the former, which points to the socioeconomics of juice, as eloquently described by David Chappelle in a joke wherein African-Americans, being financially limited to “purple drink” their entire lives, emphatically ask WHAT THE FUCK IS JUICE when confronted by it in a white person’s home.

Now, time for some more coffee wine!

Photo via Fail Blog