The Sip – October 2011 – The Sip Intro

Heather Thuesen

Heather Thuesen in Liquid Planet

Water: the most basic element of life; three molecules held together through simple chemical bonds. There is nothing that water does not touch somehow; it is the wellspring of vitality for all of the earth -plants, animals and humans – it’s what differentiates our planet from every other and makes ‘life’ possible. For humans in particular, this extraordinary compound refreshes, chills, sustains, and bonds every living soul on our beautiful planet.
With water there is life and with life there is “culture” – Latin cultura, literally cultivation. It is the inspired expression for sharing not only geography but belief, attitudes, values and goals; through the senses, through growth and through nurturing. Our explorative human species has as many varied expressions of culture as there are uses for water, and one of the most compelling uses for water is as a beverage. Water can be consumed plainly as itself or have as many flavors as there are personalities on the planet. It can be infused with herbs and fruits, born of grains, brewed, mulled, seethed, soaked, steeped, you name it. Want to feel like a rock star? Sip something with caffeine, taurine or guarana and start riffing air guitar like the next Hendrix. Feel like you’re falling down a rabbit hole? Sip a soporific (think Chamomile tea), and tame your inner Mad Hatter with a little more Caterpillar- you’ll be smiling like the Cheshire in no time. With a kaleidoscope of ingredients, water becomes a beverage that can range from medicinal to nutritional to purely pleasurable. Regardless of how it is consumed, beverage plays a starring role in our daily lives. Through the base element of water, beverage has evolved to bond human culture in every point in history spanning the entire planet.

Spin a globe and stop randomly on any land mass and there is a story of culture revolving around beverage. An alpaca herder sips on coca leaf tea and makes a ceremonial offering for the prosperity of his family in the hills above Lake Titicaca in Peru, while a family in the Argentinian countryside passes around a gourd of yerba maté, sipping from the bombilla while preparing a meal together. In South Africa, a descendent of the Khoisan tribe enjoys the medicinal benefits of Rooibos tea, while in Shanghai a grandmother sips the tea her grandson has poured for her during their weekly chayi. In fair Verona, a new father-in-law toasts his daughter, a deep glass of raisiny Amarone raised high, and the new couple sips their first wine as husband and wife, while a group of friends in New Zealand rowdily celebrate an All Blacks Rugby win sipping well-over a few pints of beer. In the United States, a child enjoys the rare treat of a cold root beer soda while he fishes off of his father’s dock, while in Istanbul a mother sips her coffee prepared az şekerli, little sugar, while her own mother turns over her cup to read her future in the grounds.

Sip by sip and soul by soul, the world is pulled together as a culture of beverage, and throughout history, people have made a place to indulge in these beverages. After hunts and journeys, tribes have gathered around fires to share refreshment in beverage, celebrating victory and mourning defeat while in ancient times, philosophers gathered in the agora, expounding theories and drinking spring water and wine from their skyphos. Later, throughout much of the Orient and Europe, the rise of coffee and tea houses was subject to bans out of fear that a place of gathering and connection would inspire subversive talk, and whispers of scandal. But the beverage culture prevailed, whether behind a secluded whiskey-soaked speakeasy or an open air terazza.
No matter how individual we are, we want to gather, to drink our beverages in places that we can speak of the revolution in our hearts, of the puzzles in our minds, to banter and laugh in intimacy and camaraderie, to connect to the world while our every day hustle and bustle strives to drive us further into the isolation of our social networks, mobile devices and our lonely but portable lifestyles. We want to pause, and drink in the sense of community that makes us feel whole, feel needed and be filled with the bonds of kinship.

And that is why “The Sip” was born, a place for those thirsting and questing for global and human connection, to make exploration of how hydrogen and oxygen can be swirled into an abundance of variety; a concoction for every taste, and a reason to “bond”. Here, we hope you’ll find a community, a beverage culture, an alchemic elixir of life. At the very least we hope to bring you a bit of history, a recipe or two, and both intriguing and amusing information on the 3 little molecules that bond together to make human bonding just a little easier. Wanna grab a drink?

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