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Nomenclature, singular term of booze[edit]

A recent edit claims that "boo" is a singular form of the colloquial term "booze." Is there anyone who can support this statement? I've only ever heard booze used as a collective noun with no separate plural and singular, to describe the class of alcoholic beverages. Kardonius (talk) 09:46, 19 October 2017 (UTC)

" Beer and wine, which are not distilled, are limited to a maximum alcohol content of about 20% ABV, as most yeasts cannot metabolise when the concentration of alcohol is above this level; as a consequence, fermentation ceases at that point." - %14 is probably the practical limit for yeast fermentation. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:13, 14 February 2019 (UTC)


I've edited this entry to change the following. I document it here because there's no room to document it on the main page:

1. The history of distillation is partly given under "Background" and partly under "History". It's confusing.

So why not consolidate instead of eliminate. Rmhermen 01:56, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

2. Sake is absolutely not a distilled beverage. Sake is closest to beer in its ingredients and closest to Riesling or Chardonnay wine in its method of production (using two ferments to create the final product). It is never distilled on its own and true sake has an ABV of about 14%.

The sake article disagrees with you. Rmhermen 01:56, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

3. "Malt" and "grains" are not different items. Malt is derived from grains. Without malting, it's difficult if not impossible to ferment barley and wheat.

4. Many spirits are made from vegetables. Vodka is often made from potatoes.

5. References are not given in Wikipedia form.

6. Many typos, run-on-sentences, unclear phrases, etc. For instance, "universal medical elixir application" makes no sense in any form of English. From reading one of the primary sources, I think the original writer meant that the liquors were likely first designed to be medical elixirs.

7. Saying that corn spirits were distilled by the English in 1400 could be highly misleading for North American readers. "Wheat" is an unambiguous term.

Except that it doesn't mena wheat. It means wheat and rye and barley and oats, etc. Rmhermen 01:56, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

8. If "spirits" is used to refer to distilled beverages only, you can't call beer a "grain spirit" before you distill it.

Huh? Rmhermen 01:56, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

9.I seem to remember reading about a Roman celebration involving some rather strong (perhaps distilled) drink in a bachus festival. It was quite different from the regular wine theme. Ostia seems to ring a bell. Does anyone know of any techniques they may have used to make a spirit(not just a wine) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:28, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

The earliest evidence of distillation of alcohol is from around 1100 CE.[1] I remember having read that the Romans didn't even know of, or at least didn't practice distillation (though I'm sorry to say I am unable to find my source for this at the moment), and there is certainly no evidence that they distilled alcohol. 2001:700:300:1021:9B1:921A:79CF:4AE1 (talk) 18:14, 17 July 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ R.J. Forbes A Short History of the Art of Distillation Brill, 1970.

Charcoal filtering final product[edit]

What is the purpose in filtering alcohol through charcoal/ashes? Moonshine that isnt filtered through charcoal/ashes is called pop-skull liquor (According to 'The fox fire' book) The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

It removes impurities, just like filtering water through a Britta filter. In fact you can filter cheap Vodka through a Britta filter a number of times and greatly improve its quality and taste. -- Stbalbach 19:47, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Which is inappropriately noted in the Brita article itself. I came here from there to point this out. I added one section of text to point there. See my note at Talk:Brita Hopefully someone will step in and clean this up further. MaxEnt 20:21, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Deletion vote[edit]

All liqueur enthusiasts, please vote here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Qi (spirit). Thank you, Badagnani 07:14, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

All interested in deleting the comsumption section please add your input to mine. This is an article about origins and info about what it is not about who drinks the most.

The word "liquor"[edit]

Liquor doesn't need to be a "alcoholic" beverage, right?

See how it is used here:

True, but then this is an encyclopedia not a dictionary, for other meanings see wikt:liquor. -- Stbalbach 15:30, 26 November 2006 (UTC)


The article says that the use of the term 'liquor' is first recorded in the late 1200s and first used to refer to alcoholic beverages in the 1700s. My reference [1] says early 1200s and 1300s, respectively, a difference of 50 and 400 years. CRGreathouse (t | c) 08:31, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Checking the OED (it's somewhat difficult as I can't read Middle English well enough to fully appreciate the meaning), but the term has been used in various ways.. a liquid.. a liquid for drinking.. a alcoholic liquid for drinking... there are many others. This looks like the oldest entry in terms of alcohol:
b. With reference to intoxicating effect. disguised with liquor = DISGUISED ppl. a. 6. in liquor: in a state of intoxication. to be (the) worse for liquor: to be overcome by drink.
a1529 SKELTON Bk. 3 Fools Wks. 1843 I. 202 Thou hast wylde lycoure, the whiche maketh all thy stomacke to be on a flambe. 1592 NASHE P. Penilesse (ed. 2) 23a, He is reputed..a boore that will not take his licour profoundly.

-- Stbalbach 17:06, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, it's good to have real information. CRGreathouse (t | c) 09:17, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Cider and Apfelwine "distilled" !?[edit]

Help! In that big "box" at the bottom of the page, it lists cider and apfelwine as apple-based "distilled" alcoholic drinks. This is obviously untrue, as both are simply fermented, not distilled. How does one edit that box? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:34, 14 January 2007 (UTC).

History and subsections[edit]

The problem with the sub-sections is they break the section up into a regional history, which it is not. It is a global/world history that discusses the innovations that were new, in a roughly chronological order. They just happen to fall along some regional lines, which I suppose one could "forge" sections out of, but that takes away from the narrative and flow and intention of the section. It's not that long that it needs sectioning. -- Stbalbach 23:55, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

The problem with not having sub-section is that the major breakthroughs are buried among a variety of lesser improvements. This breakthrough is definitely the invention of the alembic still as we know it (perhaps already with cooled collector which may be also a later European invention) by the Arabs in the 8th/9th century. This still spread then to Europe and China, and only THEN only do modern liquid appear. If you feel that there is another way of giving prominence to some facts than with geographic subsections, then please go ahead. Regards Gun Powder Ma 14:43, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
Gun Powder Ma, I wrote it originally back in Jan 2005 and sure enough I did use three sections, but the source I used did not use sections (I really need to footnote it sometime, didn't use footnotes back then). I guess I'll let it go and keep the sections, no big deal either way, I'm kind of leery of sectioning for the sake of sectioning because it distracts and distorts but if you think it helps emphasis thats fine. -- Stbalbach 23:06, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
You wrote that? I found the text verbatim and with the subsections included somewhere in the web. I would still prefer subsections, but I bow to your expertise. ;-) Perhaps you can add your references as footnotes. Regards Gun Powder Ma 23:44, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
I wrote most of it [2]. If you found it on the web it was copied from Wikipedia. -- Stbalbach 22:21, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

George Liquor redirection[edit]

George Liquor is a fairly obscure, web-only character that was part of a short-lived project. Basically, I'm trying to say, almost no one knows what that even is..... so why should there be a redirection from Distilled Liquor (a large, broad, and fairly well-sourced article) to an article that's been tagged for over a year for having unreliable sources for a cartoon character?

I mean, if it were a popular cartoon character, I could understand, but this character would only be known to serious fans of an obscure cartoon creator (John Kricfalusi, creator of Ren & Stimpy).

I almost feel like this redirect gives it undeserved, and completely unrelated exposure, and thus leads people away from this article to a really strange article, for something that almost no one knows anything about (beyond the dozen or so 2-minute web cartoons).

Basically, if people even KNOW what George Liquor is and they want more information on it, chances are they're going to search for the character by names ("George Liquor" is not at all a difficult series of English language words to type into the search box.)—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

It's presumably there because there aren't enough links to warrant a Liquor disambiguation [3] page, and only that page and would warrant linking from it. Seems like a fairly standard otheruses link, placed here when the old disambig page at Liquor was blown away per the disambiguation guidelines that call for at least three links to be present. Note that the only "redirect" involved is the redirection of Liquor here. MrZaiustalk 12:03, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Moved out of Vodka[edit]

The following pieced is moved out of "Vodka" (unreferenced there). Please incorporate it here, whatever makes sense. `'Míkka>t 01:16, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

An early description of a distilling apparatus comes from the 13th century. The device was later described by a university professor in his treatise about wine. To produce beverages containing 60% alcohol with the device, the distillation process had to be repeated several times. The general knowledge about distillation was being slowly developed until 1800, when Edward Adam invented the process of rectification which removed its "bad taste". Further changes were made in 1817 by Johannes Pistorius, a German brewer, who built the first machine that could produce a beverage containing 85% alcohol in just one distillation. In Ireland in 1830 an apparatus was designed that could work continuously and allowed for production of beverage containing almost 90% alcohol. A similar rectification machine, but working periodically, was for the first time used in 1852 in a brewery in Saint Denis by Pierre Savalle. The present-day distillation-rectification machines, designed in the 19th and 20th centuries, are essentially modernized versions of those devices. Currently, such machines can work continuously and produce beverages containing 95.6% alcohol without any contaminating tastes or smells.
The process of distillation with still was widely promoted throughout Europe by Dutch traders. In the 17th century they also played a great role in exchanging the various types of alcohols such as mead, wine, beer, and also the stronger ones such as rum, cognac, whisky and vodka, between the countries of their origin.

Removals of references from List of liqueurs[edit]

See Talk:List of liqueurs, and comment there if you wish. Badagnani (talk) 02:29, 26 March 2009 (UTC)


I removed the following from history. The first evidence of distillation comes from Babylonia and dates from the 2nd millennium B.C. Specially shaped clay pots were used to extract small amounts of distilled alcohol through natural cooling for use in perfumes. By the 3rd century A.D., alchemists in Alexandria, Egypt, may have used an early form of distillation to produce alcohol for sublimation or for colouring metal.[citation needed] the tag is 2 and a half years old, and contradicts the common understanding of the origins of distillation.Broad Wall (talk) 02:25, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Distillation in medieval Islam[edit]

This section innacurately says that medieval middle eastern alchemists were the first to distill alcohol. However, historians of science like Sarton did extensive research on this topic and analised the middle eastern, chinese and european claims of primacy, and concluded the first to distill alcohol were the europeans of the Salerno school. Robert James Forbes reaches the same conclusion in his famous book A short history of the art of distillation.

In addition, the source used to back up this claim is extremely poor, not to say biased. Ahmad Y Hassan is the same person who runs the famous "muslimheritage" site, known for its distortions and claims of islamic inventions stolen by europeans. I think this is a rather old story... --Knight1993 (talk) 23:25, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

You are correct. The section you're complaining about begins by referring the reader to Main Article: Distillation and that article says: "The first clear evidence of the distillation of alcohol comes from the School of Salerno in the 12th century", with references to the books by Robert James Forbes and George Sarton.
The website is an agenda-driven, unreliable reporter and interpreter. The Wikipedia article has the sentence "Razi (864–930) described the distillation of alcohol and its use in medicine". But not even is making such a claim, so the sentence is unsourced in addition to being untrue.
Another unsourced statement this Wikipedia article is currently saying is "The development of the still with cooled collector—necessary for the efficient distillation of spirits without freezing—was an invention of [Islamic] alchemists during this time [8th and 9th centuries]." In Robert James Forbes's book -- readable online at Google Books -- it says "the [medieval Arabic] distillation apparatus remained essentially the same as the Alexandrian", where Alexandrian is referring to Greeks in Egypt circa 3rd century AD (see e.g. Zosimos of Panopolis). Forbes says that, in the Alexandrian still, "there was no special condenser for the vapours apart from the alembic". And in the medieval Arabic still "the alembic remained the cooling element where the distillate was condensed.... No cooling of the spout nor any indication of the spout leading to some condensing apparatus are mentioned anywhere [in medieval Arabic writings]. These novelties were introduced from the West in later centuries." Forbes also quotes a medieval Arabic writer saying it's best to make the alembic out of glass and saying too that if the alembic is cooled with cold water it will break. Forbes also reports that in medieval Arabic usage of the alembic it sometimes "was cooled with sponges or wet rags" and sometimes "cooled by air only" (page 47). Hence, the sentence in this Wikipedia article I already quoted above, "The development of the still with cooled collector was an invention of Islamic alchemists," is either unmitigated rubbish or else a bombastic way of saying "Islamic alchemists sometimes cooled the collector with wet rags to improve condensation". In either case, it should be deleted because it has nothing to do with distilled beverages. The whole subsection headed "Middle East" should be deleted for the same reason. Seanwal111111 (talk) 02:18, 30 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the support. I ´ll try to fix the article as soon as I can.--Knight1993 (talk) 21:44, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

Liquor is a separate topic[edit]

The redirect of "liquor" to "distilled beverage" seems to represent a US-centric interpretation of the word, which has a diversity of meanings in the English language. "Liquor" can mean any alcoholic beverage, including wine and beer as well as "hard liquor". If "Liquor" means exclusively distilled beverages, then why would the adjectival qualification "hard liquor" ever be necessary ?Eregli bob (talk) 05:35, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Wiktionary doesn't agree with your definition: [4] Rmhermen (talk) 14:22, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
The answer to User:Eregli bob's question is that many people, particularly neo-prohibitionists, define "liquor" to mean anything that is liquid and contains alcohol, even low-alcohol beer. And that is why the term "hard liquor" is necessary — so that others will know what one is talking about. This is a necessary precondition for any kind of discourse. Wahrmund (talk) 15:56, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Tincture & Liquor are solutions with alcohol and water, "pot liquor" and Chocolate liquor are water solutions. Distinguish between technical usage and colloquial usage. Xb2u7Zjzc32 (talk) 08:46, 1 February 2014 (UTC)Xb2u7Zjzc32 (talk) 11:02, 1 February 2014 (UTC)
Tincture & Liquor at see medical usage.Xb2u7Zjzc32 (talk) 11:45, 1 February 2014 (UTC)

History section[edit]

Overall, this article is fragmentary and lacks citations in almost every paragraph. However as I am more familiar with the history of distillation than the other sections this is what I have commented.

The subsection about Central Asia mentions the Mongolian still. The Mongolian still is not a form of freeze distillation, but a distillation apparatus (similar to the Chinese still), that differs from the alembic in that is has no distillation head. It consists of a chamber with a concave roof that is filled with water. The distilland, or mash, is placed on the bottom of the chamber and a catch-bowl is placed on a shelf underneath the nadir of the concave roof higher up in the chamber.[1] As the distillate evaporates it hits the concave roof and is cooled by the water. It condenses and runs down the roof and drips into the catch-bowl.

The section on Medieval Europe is very fractional and should be rewritten. I would do it myself if I had the time, but unfortunately I don't for a few months.

The method of testing alcohol by burning a cloth dry does not require 95% abv. alcohol, in fact if the alcohol concentration is much in excess of 60% the cloth will burn, rather than be left dry and unharmed. The evaporating water from the mixture absorbs the heat from the burning ethanol and ensures that the cloth will not catch fire. This principle is used in a common science show demonstration where a banknote is lit, but is still unharmed afterwards.[2] I have never tried the Paracelsus-version in a spoon, so I cannot comment on this, but it seems likely to me that ca. 70% abv. should be sufficient to evaporate the rest of the water.

The claim that spirits from the 12th century were of about 40% abv. is unfounded. I have never seen this claim before and would be very interested to know if it came from an actual historical source.

As for the "national" drinks part, this should be deleted. It is neither encyclopedic nor true. The invention of gin is usually credited to Franciscus Sylvius in the mid 17th century. He is credited with the popularization of what had been a medicine for urinary diseases and animal poisons since at least the early Renaissance[3] The origin of these juniper medicines can be traced alt least as far back as Dioscorides[4]. Jenever and gin have the same origin, and both names stem from the Latin word for juniper (iuniperus). The Scandinavian aquavit (it's actually called akvavit (Swedish) or sometimes akevitt in Norwegian (though most brands call themselves aquavit in Norway), not akvavit snaps) is actually a short form of aqua vita, water of life, which was the name used for alcohol spirits from the Middle Ages. This is a very common name for spirits; the French Eau de vie and the English Whisky (from the Gaelic uisge beatha or uisce beatha) are two other examples. I have never researched the other names mentioned, but none of the above-mentioned emerged in the 16th century.

The section Modern distillation seems to have been written from the top of someone’s head. Not a single citation is given throughout the section. I'm not certain that many distillers or chemists would agree that distillation has remained more or less unchanged since the 8th century. The physical principal is still the same, but that's about it. I could explain this in greater depth, but I would rather refer to Robert J. Forbes' A Short History of the Art of Distillation, where he discusses this over some 400 pages. I would also be interested to know which chemists claim to be able to artificially reproduce the aging of alcoholic beverages.

The statement that modern marketing has brought distilled beverages to populations that previously did not drink spirits is unhistorical at best. A solid argument for this can be found on the first few pages of Robert J. Forbes' A Short History, where he argues polemically against a widespread ethnological hypothesis that distillation has evolved independently in most "primitive" or "barbaric" cultures (not my words! remember that Forbes wrote his book in the mid 1940's!). The "virtues" of distilled beverages have been as good a marketing strategy in its own right as alcoholic beverages could ever need or hope for.

The last two level 4-sections of the History section are fractional and incoherent and should be deleted. It could be desirable to have a section on Government regulations, but the current section is not about the history of Government regulations (though there is much interesting to be said about that), and should not be a subsection under the History section. It should also be cleaned up a bit, as the part about methanol is unnecessary. 2001:700:300:1021:9B1:921A:79CF:4AE1 (talk) 19:42, 17 July 2013 (UTC)


  1. ^ Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China', vol. 5, part 4. Cambridge University Press, 1980. An illustration of a Mongolian still can be seen here:
  2. ^ The demonstration is described here:
  3. ^ E.g. Adam Lonicer, Kreuterbuch, künstliche Conterfeytunge der Bäume, Stauden, Hecken, Kräuter, Getreyd, Gewürtze, &c Frankfurt am Main, 1557. pp. XL-XLI. Other authers such as Brunfels and Fuchs have also described the same medicine.
  4. ^ Dioscorides, De Materia Medica, book 1, chapter 103

I also found the Paracelsus paragraph lacking. After reading above critique I decided to take it out of the article, moving it here for the moment:

Paracelsus experimented with distillation. His test was to burn a spoonful without leaving any residue. Other ways of testing were to burn a cloth soaked in it without actually harming the cloth. In both cases, to achieve this effect, the alcohol had to be at least 95 percent, close to the maximum concentration attainable through distillation (see purification of ethanol).

My accusations are:

  1. no source given
  2. "His test was to burn a spoonful" - Test for what? A spoonful of what? Very imprecise wording
  3. "cloth soaked ... at least 95 percent ... maximum concentration attainable" - I agree with the anonymous user above: From what I was taught, there needs to be enough content of water in the brandy to protect the fabric from burning, by keeping it wet enough while gradually boiling off. (Also: I'd be surprised if the alchemists of the middle ages would have had the equipment to distill to such high alcohol contents.)

--BjKa (talk) 21:06, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Artificial aging[edit]

Some material sourced to Wired[1] was just removed. I checked and the source does not support the material. Maybe something could be salvaged from this? Kendall-K1 (talk) 13:32, 24 October 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ "This Guy Says He Can Make 20-Year-Old Rum in 6 Days". WIRED. 8 April 2015.

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Requested move 1 May 2018[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: consensus to move the page to Liquor at this time, per the discussion below. Dekimasuよ! 07:47, 8 May 2018 (UTC)

Distilled beverageDistilled liquor – Per WP:CommonName and WP:NaturalDisambiguation. The most common name for this is simply "liquor" (which does redirect here), but that term is somewhat ambiguous. "Hard liquor" would resolve the ambiguity, but I think that is more of an American term. "Distilled liquor" is the best alternative. Rreagan007 (talk) 06:47, 1 May 2018 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Article rename[edit]

I feel renaming was a mistake. 'Liquor' in this sense is largely American usage, so there are WP:GLOBALIZE issues. British people would never describe whisky or vodka as 'liquor' since 'spirit' is the standard term, and there is no concept of a 'liquor store' there. I don't know about other parts of the anglophone world but I suspect British usage is more common there, as the US has a pretty unique alcohol culture derived from the wrangling over prohibition. --Ef80 (talk) 14:12, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

The problem with naming the article "spirit" is that "spirit" has a more common meaning in English. The benefit of "liquor" is that it really only has one primary meaning. Rreagan007 (talk) 05:55, 15 August 2018 (UTC)

Call to the experts - comparison table please![edit]

Can someone please create a table to compare vodka, whisky, brandy, rakia, slivovitz, mezcal, pisco, etc.? I assume some dimensions would be alcohol content, region of origin, fruit used, cocktails it supports? --Cryout 17:32, 23 March 2019 (UTC)