What is Alcohol?
An alcohol is any organic compound in which a a hydroxyl group is bound to a carbon atom of an alkyl group. Some common examples are ethanol, which is the active ingredient in alcohol beverages, and isopropanol, which is commonly known as rubbing alcohol. Another common alcohol is methanol, which is poisonous. The "alcohol group" in organic chemistry (it's called a hydroxide group in inorganic chemistry) is one atom of oxygen bonded to one atom of hydrogen. An alcohol is an organic compound with an alcohol group bonded to it.
There are two broad classes of alcohols--alcohols, which have one alcohol group, and polyols, which have more than one. (Poly means many.) Polyols further divide into two classes: monomeric polyols, which are also called diols (di means two, and diols have two alcohol groups) or glycols; and polymeric polyols, which can have thousands of them. An example is poly(ethylene oxide), which is an alcohol shipped as a solid. It's used for making plastics, and you can order it in any molar mass you like up to 10,000 kilograms per mole. I guess you're supposed to make polymeric vault doors out of it.
An alcoholic beverage is a drink that contains Alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. Alcoholic beverages are consumed in almost every nation, and most nations have laws that regulate their production, sale, and consumption.
In particular, such laws specify the minimum age at which a person may legally buy or drink alcoholic beverages. This minimum age can be as low as 16 years, as in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Most nations, however, set the minimum age at 18 years. In the United States, the minimum age is 21 years.
The production and consumption of alcohol occurs in most cultures of the world, from hunter-gatherer peoples to nation-states. Alcoholic beverages are often an important part of social events in these cultures. It allows people to open up to others because of alcohol’s neurological effects
Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect. High blood alcohol content is usually considered to be legal drunkenness because it reduces attention and slows reaction speed. Alcoholic beverages can be addictive, and the state of addiction to alcohol is known as alcoholism.
How alcohol is made:
Alcoholic beverages that have lower alcohol content (beer and wine) are produced by fermentation of sugar- or starch-containing plant material; beverages of higher alcohol content (spirits) are produced by fermentation followed by distillation
In many countries, people drink alcoholic beverages at lunch and dinner.
At times and places of poor public sanitation (such as Medieval Europe), the consumption of alcoholic drinks was a way of avoiding water-borne diseases such as cholera. Small beer and faux wine, in particular, were used for this purpose. Although alcohol kills bacteria, its low concentration in these beverages would have had only a limited effect. More important was that the boiling of water (required for the brewing of beer) and the growth of yeast (required for fermentation of beer and wine) would tend to kill dangerous microorganisms. The alcohol content of these beverages allowed them to be stored for months or years in simple wood or clay containers without spoiling. For this reason, they were commonly kept aboard sailing vessels as an important (or even the sole) source of hydration for the crew, especially during the long voyages of the early modern period.
In cold climates, strong alcoholic beverages such as vodka are popularly seen as a way to “warm up” the body, possibly because alcohol is a quickly absorbed source of food energy and because it dilates peripheral blood vessels (peripherovascular dilation). This is a misconception because the perception of warmth is actually caused by the transfer of heat from the body’s core to its extremities, where it is quickly lost to the environment.
Most countries have laws against drunk driving, i.e., driving with a certain concentration of alcohol in the blood. Punishments for violation include fines, temporary loss of driving license, and imprisonment.
Some religions—most notably Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, the Bahá'í Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the Theravada and most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant sects of Fundamentalist Christianity and Hinduism—forbid, discourage, or restrict the consumption of alcoholic beverages for various reasons.
Alcohol has been used by people around the world, in the standard diet, for hygienic/medical reasons, for its relaxant and euphoric effects, for recreational purposes, for artistic inspiration, as aphrodisiacs, and for other reasons.
Alcohol expectations are beliefs that individuals hold about the effects they experience from drinking. They are largely beliefs about how the consumption of alcohol will affect a person’s emotions, abilities and behaviors. To the extent that alcohol expectancies can be changed, it may be possible to reduce a major social and health problem, that of alcohol abuse. People believe that alcohol leads to aggression, sexual behavior AKA "beer goggles", or rowdy behavior, they tend to act that way when intoxicated.
Alcohol expectations can operate in the absence of actual consumption of alcohol. Research in the U.S. over a period of decades has shown that men tend to become physically more sexually aroused when they think they have been drinking alcohol, even when they haven't. Women report feeling more sexually aroused when they falsely believe the beverages they have been consuming contain alcohol, although a measure of their physiological arousal shows that they are physically becoming less aroused.
Men tend to become more aggressive in laboratory studies in which they are drinking only tonic water but believe that it contains alcohol. They also become relatively less aggressive when they think they are drinking only tonic water, but is actually drinking tonic containing alcohol.