The medicinal use of alcohol was mentioned in Sumerian and Egyptian texts dated from 2100 BC or earlier. The Hebrew Bible recommends giving alcoholic drinks to those who are dying or depressed, so that they can forget their misery (Proverbs 31:6-7).

Wine was consumed in Classical Greece at breakfast or at symposia, and in the 1st century BC it was part of the diet of most Roman citizens. However, both Greeks and Romans generally consumed diluted wine (with strengths varying from 1 part wine and 1 part water to 1 part wine and 4 parts water). The transformation of water into wine at the wedding at Cana is the first of the miracles attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, and His use of wine in the Last Supper led to it becoming an essential part of the Eucharist rite in most Christian traditions (see Christianity and alcohol).,_Jr.