I am of the mind that the process of distillation is the second most important discovery in the history of drink, running a close second behind that of fermentation. This has more to do with my predilection of alcoholic beverages, to be sure, but when faced with some of the various results of distilling, it’s difficult to put its discovery behind that of say, pasteurization. In my knowledge, no one has ever been tarred and feathered over the output of various pasteurization plants.
Compare that against the history of the Scots, who took a fair amount of pride in knockin’ around the English Tax Collectors. Or how about the Scotch-Irish immigrants of a young America, who also took umbrage to Tax Collectors in the early 1790′s? They caused such a ruckus that President Washington (himself a fine distiller of Whiskey) had to send over 13,000 troops into Western Pennsylvania to quell what is today known as the Whiskey Rebellion.
Distillation has had its affect upon the history of Pharmacology as well as the history of NASCAR.
Religious folks initially helped promote various distilled spirits, and then later had a hand in the temperance movement, hoping to ban the various spirits.
Governments derive a great deal of income from taxing the spirits, which often runs contrary to the more prurient interests of these countries.
The production of Rum helped initiate the slave trade in the Western Hemisphere, while Gin created a problem so large London, that today it’s often equated to the crack epidemic of the late 1980′s/ early 1990′s. Distilled spirits have killed more people than marijuana, yet it’s more socially acceptable to have a shot of tequila than it is to take a toke from a bong.
I bring all this up, as I”ve been doing a fair amount of research of various liquors out there. You will undoubtedly be seeing the results of that within these here posts. Expect mucho information over the next few weeks.