The flammable nature of wine vapors was well-known among ancient philosophers and scholars, including Aristotle and Theophrastus. According to Russian Wikipedia, instructions to obtain the spirit can be found as early as in the notes of the 9th
-century Persian healer, alchemist and philosopher Abu Bakr al-Razi
. English Wikipedia also mentions that the process of distilling wine was found in Arabic-language books supposedly written by Arab philosopher Al-Kindi
, Islamic philosopher Al-Farabi, as well as Arab physician Al-Zahrawi
. It's important to note that these ancient scientists and philosophers extracted the spirits for their valuable essential oils and essences.
According to the British encyclopedia Britannica
, in the 1100-1200s the first ethyl spirit was extracted in Italy. In the 11th
century Italian doctor Taddeo Alderotti
described the method for concentrating alcohol which included fractional distillation through a water-cooled tank, a technique which could produce alcohol with a purity of 90%. This was called "spiritus vini", meaning "the spirit of wine" — the difference being that now that vodka was "distilled" as a drink.
In 1386, the Genoese ambassadors brought their aqua vitae grape from Italy to Grand Prince of Moscow Dmitri Donskoi as a diplomatic gift.
In his book "The History of Vodka"
, William Pokhlyobkin dates Slavic distillation back to between 1460 and 1500, with the first place of production being an orthodox monastery. At the beginning of the 16th
century, hot or burning wine had already become a part of daily life.