"Spirits played a role in the enslavement and displacement of millions of people, the establishment of new nations, and the subjugation of indigenous cultures." - p. 129, A History of the World in Six GlassesFrom A History of the World in Six Glasses:
- The modern form of distillation began in the Arab world around 970 AD and was routinely applied to wine at this time.
- For many centuries, distilled wine was called 'aqua vitae" (water of life) because it was thought to preserve youth, improve memory, cure blindness, and treat diseases.
- With the invention of the printing press during the 1430s, distilled drinks became more of a recreational drink.
- The sugar production and trade during the fifteenth and sixteenth century, unfortunately using millions of slaves, was highly influenced by the demand for spirits such as brandy and rum.
- Since rum results from the waste product of sugar production, molasses, it has to be made in coastal towns.
- In the second half of the seventeenth century, rum was becoming the colonists' new favorite drink and it soon became the most profitable manufactured item in New England.
- Whiskey was the drink of the American settlers moving westward, since it was made from cereal grains, and quickly became associated with independence and the American pioneer spirit.