Recently I picked up Tom Standage's fascinating book, A History of the World in Six Glasses. Although it was written five years ago, I really don't think too much has changed in the world of stemware historians since the copyright date.
The conceit of the work is that the story of all of human history can be described by the influence of six beverages: beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and cola. As a technology editor for The Economist, Standage has a gift for describing the minutiae of the discovery of these various drinks and the extrapolating their sociological impact. The story of the importance of beer to ancient Mesopotamian culture goes so far as to say that beer was one of the first currencies, as surely it was a gift from the gods.
His treatment of coffee and tea involves slightly more civilized imperialists, but still reveals the importance of these beverages on commerce and the expansion of trade routes. The story of Coca-Cola is simply a more modern-day version of the globalization of a product and one of the more remarkable marketing efforts of our times.
It's a quick read, and while claiming to view all of civilization through the bottom of a glass is a bit of a stretch, it does make you think about what you're drinking and the vessel it comes in. Pour yourself a nice glass of Petit Syrah and dig into the story.