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Ancient Scandinavians quaffed an alcoholic mixture of barley, honey, cranberries, herbs and even grape wine imported from Greece and Rome, new research finds.
This Nordic "grog" predates the Vikings. It was found buried in tombs alongside warriors and priestesses, and is now available at liquor stores across the United States, thanks to a reconstruction effort by Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, and Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery.
"You'd think, with all these different ingredients, it sort of makes your stomach churn," McGovern, the lead author of a study published by the Danish Journal of Archaeology, told LiveScience. "But actually, if you put it in the right amounts and balance out the ingredients, it really does taste very good."
McGovern and his co-authors analyzed samples from four sites, two of which were grave sites in Sweden and Denmark. The oldest of these sites dated back to 1500 B.C. - more than 3,500 years ago.