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Distillation

However, Aristotle (384-322 BC) already endeavoured unsuccessfully to "free the spirit of wine from wine". Among other things, he described how seawater can be made drinkable through distillation and that wines and other liquids can be subjected to the same process. However, it is not known when this was actually achieved for the first time. The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23-79) surmised that there must be something combustible in wine. When the Moors (Arabs) conquered Spain in the 8th century, they brought the art of distillation with them. This was mainly used in pharmacy and for the production of scented waters.

The production of high-proof spirits was probably invented in what is now Turkey around 1000 AD. Vessels made of various materials such as glass or ceramics(alambic) were used for this purpose. Around the same time, Aztecs in ancient Mexico produced intoxicating drinks similar to pulque from agave. Whether distillation was used is not certain. Tartars in the Gobi Desert produced "kumyss" or "airag" from mare's milk and distilled it into "karakumyss" (milk brandy).

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Diplom-Sommelier, Weinakademiker und Weinberater, Volders (Österreich)

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