A beverage is simply a liquid prepared for human consumption intended for consumption by people. As well as their primary purpose of soothing thirst, beverages also play important symbolic roles in modern society. Common examples of beverages include tea, cold milk, juice, and even soft drinks. Historically, warm beverages such as coffee, tea and hot chocolate were often served to guests. Today, many people still serve warm beverages, however many others prefer to serve cold beverages at all times.
Beverages vary according to where they are consumed and how they are consumed. For example, while most beverages consumed with dinner are light, iced tea and other light drinks are the most common after-dinner beverage. Cold milk or juice is usually served as an accompaniment to most meals, especially white bread or rice. Light alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine are more common when people have a few cocktails at night, rather than at a full meal.
Beverage consumption is an important social activity, as studies have shown. In order to be socially acceptable, it is essential to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Studies have also shown that the average American consumes far less than the recommended amount of ounces of milk each day. The amount of consumption of milk products has significantly decreased over the past few decades. This trend is likely due to the rising awareness of the health benefits of low-fat, low-calorie, sugar-free, non-clotting milk products over the past decade.