Imagine waking up before work in the morning, rubbing the sleep from your eyes, and padding down to the kitchen in your bunny slippers to soak some bread in wine for a quick nip before you went down to the office. Seem strange? Well, it’s only recently that fermented beverages have stopped being the norm for breakfast.
In ancient Rome, the first meal of the day was called jentaculum. It was typically served at dawn, and consisted of bread, wine, and fruit. The tradition of breakfast drinking was passed down through the centuries, and it’s only relatively recently that alcohol and breakfast have seemed strange together. Even in colonial America it wasn’t unheard of to begin the morning with an ale and switch to the harder stuff as the day wore on.
Somewhere between Julius Caesar and the present day breakfast, beverages calmed down, in North America at least. In the mid-1700s, coffee became the craze in America, and coffee houses rather than pubs, for a time, became the best spots for movers and shakers to do business. During that time, folks must have wised up to the fact that the stimulant properties of caffeine got the day off to a more clearheaded start than knocking back a pint.
Orange juice became an American breakfast staple much later. In the early 20th century, a surplus of oranges in California led the orange growers’ association to come up with the slogan “Drink an Orange.” And so Americans did. By the 1940s, orange juice was America’s second most popular breakfast drink after coffee, which makes sense, as studies have found that the smell of citrus acts as yet another stimulant to most people.
So while coffee and orange juice have become the American breakfast standard, breakfast drinks around the world are very different. If you’re bored of the basics, click through this slideshow for some refreshingly differently accouterments to your morning meal.
Miso Soup, Japan
While you might think of miso soup as an appetizer before your sushi, in Japan, it’s common to have a cup of miso accompanying a bowl of rice porridge for breakfast. The soup is most commonly made of dashi (usually a broth made from fish stock) mixed with softened miso paste and sometimes also contains mushrooms, potatoes, shrimp, or fish.
Naranjilla Juice, Ecuador
This diminutive fruit is popular throughout Latin America. Literally translated, the word means “small orange,” but the naranjilla is actually much more tart and acidic than an orange. Also, the green meat of the fruit more closely resembles that of a tomatillo. Breakfast juice is made from the naranjilla by squeezing its juice, then mixing it with lime, sugar, and water for a breakfast drink that’s both sweet and sour.