A History of the World in 6 Glasses - Part 3: Spirits in the Colonial Period Summary & Analysis

Tom Standage
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Summary

Cordoba, the capital of Arab Andalusia (modern-day Spain), was the most cultured city in Western Europe at the end of the first millennium AD. Cordoba had advanced facilities and services for its citizens and some 70 libraries, the largest of which contained 500,000 books. The city was one of the great learning centers of the Arab world where advancements were made in math and science. They also discovered the distillation technique that led to a new type of drink.

“Al-koh’l” was the word used for purified antimony, an ingredient used in cosmetics. Alchemists used the same term in referring to other highly purified substances including liquids. Distilled wine came to be known in English as “alcohol of wine.” New drinks emerged using this process in the Age of Exploration during which distilled drinks were transported by ship. Arabs looked at...

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This section contains 1,488 words
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