A discussion about this on another forum got me thinking. Hypothetically, if the physiological effects of alcohol were not present, would people still enjoy drinking alcoholic beverages? Surely yes, now that we've been conditioned to like it. But I wonder if we found a sample of people raised in a non-alcohol-philic society (assuming there is one), and presented them with a variety of alcoholic beverages, they would enjoy any of them. Whatever they decide, is it despite the taste of alcohol, or because of it?
My guess is they wouldn't enjoy it. Alcohol is poison to us (and most other organisms as far as I know), right? So it would be only natural for us to find the taste offensive.
But on the other hand, fermented beverages also last because of that very same reason. And many people unknowingly took advantage of that fact to preserve beverages - wine, beer, etc. So maybe over the millennia of surviving on alcohol, we (or certain populations) have grown a penchant for it?
I don't like beer or wine myself but I do know beer drinkers LOVE the taste of "good" beer- whatever that is.
Wine is the same- some people love it.
As far as going to the bar to taste- some like shots, mixed-drinks, beer and wine- sometimes all on the same night.
In my area they have wine tasting tours all over the place- It's a multi-billion dollar business-
You can also tour beer and spirit distilleries - with sampling/tasting rooms.
I love the taste and pallet cleansing power of good cellar aged 'old world' style red wines mainly from France, South Africa and Chile. I also enjoy the taste of Cognac and single malt Whiskeys. The alcohol high isn't important to me.
I love alcohol and the taste. Fine wines ... whiskeys , beers , cordials of all kinds.
I kind of enjoy the burning sensation of the harder liquors. Reminds me that I'm alive and the slight burning pain turns into enjoyment in a way.. then you get that warm feeling all over when sipping a whiskey.
If I didn't get drunk then I would drink endless amounts of the above mentioned.