There is irony in the fact that distilled alcohol was "invented" by about the only widespread culture in the history of the world that can't use it.
Alcohol was fully purified for the first time by Muslim chemists in the 8th and 9th centuries. The development of the still with cooled collector—necessary for the efficient distillation of spirits without freezing—was an invention of Muslim alchemists during this time. In particular, Geber (Jabir Ibn Hayyan, 721–815) invented the alembic still; he observed that heated wine from this still released a flammable vapour, which he described as "of little use, but of great importance to science". Not much later Al-Razi (864–930) described the distillation of alcohol and its use in medicine. By that time, distilled spirits had become fairly popular beverages.
39 mths ago