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Common name in Germany for raw spirit; see under distillation.

However, Aristotle (384-322 BC) was already unsuccessfully endeavouring to "free the spirit of wine from the wine". It is not certain when this was first achieved, but there are descriptions from the 2nd century B.C. The Roman author Pliny the Elder (23-79) surmised that there must be something combustible in the wine. The Aztecs in ancient Mexico mastered this art and produced intoxicating drinks from agave (see under pulque). Tartars in the Gobi desert produced the alcoholic drink "Kumyss" from mare's milk and distilled it into "Karakumyss" (milk brandy). 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. Vessels made from various materials such as glass or ceramics, known as alambics, were used for this purpose.

Aqua vitae

A document from 1150 describes the art of making "aqua ardens" (burning water) from wine. Around this time, the name "aqua vitae" (water of life) was in common use. At the beginning of the 13th century, repeated distillation (ten times or more) had already made it possible to produce up to 90% alcohol. The scholar Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) further developed the distillation apparatus. The Spanish doctor and scholar Arnaldus de Villanova (1240-1311) used his experience to invent the wine now known as vin doux naturel. From the beginning of the 14th century, the term "spiritus vini" (spirit of wine), first used by the naturalist and physician Theophrastus Bombastus Paracelsus (1493-1541), became established for distillates and was later equated...

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The world's largest Lexicon of wine terms.

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