Based on findings from new research, it’s safe to assume happy hour in the 1700s was probably more like…happy minute. Back then, you’d enjoy a glass of wine that topped out at a mere 66 milliliters (which is equivalent to about a standard shot and a half). Today’s average glasses are a whopping seven times bigger, at 449 milliliters. The discrepancy makes it kind of challenging to decide on a healthy number of glasses per week, to say the least.
A new study looked at the evolution of wine consumption over the years and how it has steadily increased from being very modest during the time of your ancestors to, uh, pretty darn indulgent 300 years later. While beer and spirits were the most popular forms of alcohol until the second part of the 20th century (wine was still a fancy, upper-class thing!), things started to quickly change.
According to a press release, a tax on glass being lifted in 1845 led to the creation of larger glass products and the production of different goblet styles based on varietal—a distinction that piqued appreciation of different wines for imbibers. As people continued to gain access to wine and prices became more affordable, consumption increased—four-fold between 1960 and 1980, and then doubled again between 1980 and 2004. And, as the glasses grew larger, so did sales—both in retail and at restaurants and bars.
While having a liter-size glass of wine probably isn’t the best idea over the holidays (because yes, those giant chalices do exist), you can totally enjoy in moderation. There are plenty of natural wines available, and since those are made with low levels of human manipulation, they may be healthier than other options. (But, seriously, folks: Moderation is key to keep your skin, gut, and general health in tip-top shape.)