Chapter 1.2 Origin of Distilled Spirits

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Alcoholic liquid, alcoholic mash or fermentating grains can be heated and distilled in a specially-made distiller. When heated and distilled, the steam and alcoholic liquid contain relatively different degrees of different substances due to the volatility differences of different substances. The alcohol is easier to volatilize. There is an increase of alcohol in the steam, and the intensity of alcohol in alcoholic liquid and alcoholic mash declines. When the steam is collected and cooled, the alcoholic liquid, although colorless, smells strong and hot, its percentage of alcohol much higher than the original alcoholic liquid. A typical brewed alcoholic drink contains below 20% of alcohol, while a distilled alcoholic liquor has over 60% of alcohol. Our Chinese distilled alcoholic liquors are mainly brewed by using cereals then distilling to obtain.

Nowadays the well- - known distilled alcoholic liquors are classified into "Chinese Alcoholic liquor" (or Shao Jiu- - a Chinese name ), "Brany" "Whisky", "Vodak:" and " Rum" etc. The white alcoholic liquor is the specialty of China, generally brewed with corn and distilled to get. Brandy is a distilled grape wine . Whisky is made by using sprouted barley or other corn to ferment then distilling to obtain. Rum is made by distilling sugarcane wine.

1.2.1 Different Opinions of Origin of Distilled Alcoholic Liquors

In comparison with the brewed alcoholic drinks, the distilled alcoholic liquor has one more process of distilling , the key equipment is a distiller. Invention of distiller was the primary condition of the origin of distilled alcoholic liquors, but it was not a absolute condition for the origin of distilled alcoholic liquors. For distillers could not only be used to distill alcoholic liquids but also to distill other substances such as perfume and mercury etc.
From the ancient time on, the origin of distilled alcoholic liquors had been paid attention to. Different people held different opinions on it. Modern scholars abroad and at home are engaging in data collection and research of the problem. With more and more archaeological materials and evidences discovered and consultation of ancient ages' data and documents, the further understanding of the origin of distilled alcoholic liquors has been reached gradually. For not only does it concern the distilling of alcoholic liquors, but also concerns the epock---making distiller.
As to the origin of distilled alcoholic liquors, there are two problems needed to solve: One is when our Chinese distilled alcoholic liquors first occurred, the other is whether our Chinese distiller and distilling technique came from abroad, or were invented by our ancestors, or were exported to foreign countries.
Different ages held different sayings of the origin of distilled alcoholic liquors, All the different opinions are concluded as follows: The Distilled Alcoholic liquor Started in Yuan Dynasty

Li Shizhen, a famous medical scientist of Ming Dynasty, was the earliest person to state the opinion. He wrote in his 《Compendium of Materia Medica》 that the distilling of alcoholic liquids did not come down from the ancient generations, it started in Yuan Dynasty; and that its process was like the following---heat the alcoholic mixture to steam which was collected and cooled by a special device in liquid . Ye Zi-qi who lived in early Ming Dynasty stated the same opinion earlier than Li Shizhen did in his works 《Cao Mu Zi》. He wrote, "The standard alcoholic liquor is the distilled liquor, which is heated in a device and cooled named "Arrak", its flavor strong and hot, and its color crystalline, its quality. dew--like···it did not exist in ancient times." He only stated non--existence of distilled liquors in the ancient times but not gave a definite time--boundary.
There were some records of distilled alcoholic liquors and distillers in Yuan Dynasty's documents such as in 《Yin Shan Zhang Yao》 (a book describing foods and diets)published in 1331. From this fact we can conclude that there existed the distilled alcoholic liquid in the early 14th century. But whether it was originated by our ancestors or not was not clearly defined in historical paper. The Distilled Alcoholic Liquor Was Introduced From Abroad In Yuan Dynasty

Tan Cui of Qing Dynasty wrote in his 《Dian Hai Yu Heng Zhi》, "The distilled alcoholic liquor is named the alcoholic dew, which was introduced into China in early Yuan Dynasty and received welcome everywhere in China." Zhang Mu recorded in 《Yin Shi Bian》(On Diets), "The distilled alcoholic liquor is also named the burnt alcoholic drink, 《Yin Shao Zheng Yao》calls it Arrack which is a borrowing word in fact, the distilled liquor is not brewed by using our traditional technique, it was introduced from Tailand and Netherland into China in Late Yuan Dynasty." Mr. Wu De-due, a modern expert, thought that 《 Yin Shan Zhang Yao 》was written by Hu Si-hui, a mongolian author, who used mongolian pronunciation to write Arrack but not used the ancient Chinese term. Therefore Arrack can't be regarded as a borrowing word. Hu Si-hui didn't think of "Arrack" as an introduced alcoholic liquor from abroad.
So far as the distilled alcoholic liquor introduced from abroad in Yuan Dynasty was concerned , Mr. Zeng Zong- ye argued , “ that distilled alcoholic liquors was once introduced into China might be true , it was possible to be introduced from West Asia or southern- - -east Asia. As it was quite strange and new to people , it is quite reasonable that people at time paid little attention to it. ” ( 《 Research on Origin of Chinese Distilled Liquors 》 by Zeng Zong- ye issued in 《Hei Long Jiang Brewing of Alcoholic Beverages》,1978). Distilled Alcoholic Liquors occurred in Song Dynasty

The opinion was presented by modern scholars based on textual researches. Now they can be listed as the followings.
(a). There Are Some Records of Distillers in Song Dynasty's Documents and Works
The opinion is supported by one of the most important proofs that there existed distillers in Song Dynasty. Zhang Shi- nan who lived in South Song Dynasty wrote in Volume Five of 《You Huan Ti Wen》 that a tin pot distiller with a tube on one side was full of mixture of alcoholic liquid, flowers and a kind of perfume, when it was heated, steam went through the tube and was cooled in it, then the alcoholic dew drops were formed and collected. There was a picture of a pot distiller used in Song Dynasty in 《Dan Fang Xu Zhi》. Mr. Wu De- duo concluded that at least before Song Dynasty, we Chinese had possessed the pot distiller that was necessary to distill the alcoholic liquor. Of course, Mr. Wu didn't state that the pot distiller must be used to make distilled alcoholic liquors.
(b) The Distillers of Jin Dynasty were Discovered in Archaeological Activities
In 70's of 20th century , archaeologists discovered in Qing Long County, He Bei Province a pot distiller made of copper which was considered to be used in Jin Shi-zong Age. Xin Run-quan thought: "No doubt there was the pot distiller in Song Dynasty. " ( 《 When did Chinese distillers started to appear 》 by Xin Run- quan in 《 Microorganism Journal》, volume 8 , 1981 ). Judging by the distiller's structure, the discovered one was as same as the one described by Zhu De-run of Yuan Dynasty in a book named 《Zha Lai Ji Jiu Fu 》 . The liquid in the distiller when heated changed into steam which went up and was cooled the inside of the container full of cold water, the steam condensed to liquid, which flew down along the wall of the pot. However the distiller used by Southern Asian countries which was illustrated in《Ju Jia Bi Yong Shi Lei Quan Ji 》 ( a handbook for family's daily necessity) in Yuan Dynasty didn't use the technique. The distiller used in Asian countries was as same as that used in Arabian countries. The steam of the container went in a slanting way and the distiller's tube was fairly long. As far as the structure of our Chinese distillers are concerned, ours consists of the remarkable Chinese feature. So it was probable that China herself invented the distilling technique during Song Dynasty.
(c). Records in Song Dynasty's Documents were Even in Harmony with the Features of Distilled Liquor .
The words "Distilled Liquor" frequently appeared in Song Dynasty's documents, which suggests that there existed the distilled alcoholic liquor. For example. Song Ci, a gentleman living in Song Dynasty, recorded in Volume Four of 《Xi Yuan Liu》," If someone is bited by poisonous insects, another one just sucks the poison out of the wound with his mouth full of rice vinegar or distilled liquor whose character was the same as that of modern distilled alcoholic liquor. The words" Steamed alcoholic drink" are considered by some people actually to refer to the distilling process. For instance, Hong Man of Song Dynasty recorded a big fire taking place when a brewer steamed alcoholic drink and was caught by the fire in Volume Four 《 Zheng Jiang Jiu Ku》of 《Yi Jian Ding Zhi》. Here the author didn't mentioned clearly whether the words "Steamed alcoholic drink refered to cooking rice or distilling of alcoholic liquor." However "steamed alcoholic drink" refered to distilling of alcoholic liquor in Qing Dynasty. There were lots of records about" Steamed Alcoholic Drink" in 《Song Shi Shi Huo Zhi》. A kind of " Tai Alcoholic liquor" by using the technique of "Steaming of Alcoholic Drink" was also considered as the distilled alcoholic liquor. but there was no records of it in several important works on brewing alcoholic beverages such as 《 Bei Shan Jiu Jing》 by Zhu Gong,《Jiu Jing 》by Su Shi and 《Jiu Pu》 , an encyclopedia about alcoholic beverages, all published in Song Dynasty. During Northern Power and Southern Power periods of Song Dynasty, the alcoholic beverages were monopolized on sale by the state government. Large-scaled breweries and distillers were almost under the grim control of governmental agencies. If the distilled alcoholic liquor did exist, it was fairly quick to popularize it. The Distilled Alcoholic liquor was originated in Tang Dynasty

Whether Tang Dynasty originated the distilled alcoholic liquor or not has always been concerned about and focused on. The words "distilled alcoholic liquor" first appeared in the documents and papers of Tang Dynasty. For example , in Bai Ju- yi's lines “ Litchi when freshly matured colors as reddish as cockscomb, and distilled liquor when just finished distilling shines as crystalline as amber."( Bei Ju yi. one of the most outstanding and famous poets in China. lived in Tang Dynasty (772~864)); Tao Yong's lines "Distilled liquor has been brewed attractively fragrant since I've been in Cheng du, I no longer miss returning back Changan." There both occurred "distilled liquor". Li Zha listed some famous alcoholic beverages in 《Guo Shi Bu》 of Tang Dynasty's history, among which included the distilled liquor produced in Jienan called "Jienanchun". Therefore some modern scholars think that Jienan-chun was a kind of distilled liquor equaling to today's distilled alcoholic liquor.
According to the records of making alcoholic drinks in 《 Tou Huang Za Lu》of Tang Dynasty, the technique was actually a method to stimulate brewing and aging of the alcoholic. The book recorded, "The southern Chinese drink a heated alcoholic drink--it is firstly poured into a jar covered by mud, then placed on fire to heat otherwise it's flavor isn't pleasant to drink." From it, it can be concluded that it was not the distilling process of alcoholic liquors. The technique mentioned above was also called "Fire Heated Alcoholic Drink". Therefore it is hard to be acceptable that there existed the distilled alcoholic liquor in Tang Dynasty. Distilled Alcoholic Liquor Originated in Eastern Han Dynasty

In recent years, the bronze distiller of Eastern Han Dynasty kept in Shanghai Museum has been discovered. The bronze distiller, according to bronze ware experts' appraisal, was made in early or mid Eastern Han Dynasty. With the distiller to do a distilling experiment , the distilled alcoholic liquor has 26.6~20.4% of alcohol. Another bronze distiller which looks exactly the same as this one was also discovered in Huangni Community in Anhui Province. Mr. Wu De- duo and Ma Cheng-yuan who were specialized in the subject thought the Chinese started to use the bronze distiller in the daily life at the beginning of the Chtistian era or during the first century or the second one. But they didn't determine the distiller was sure to be used to distill the alcoholic liquor. ("Arrack and Dis-tilled Alcoholic liquor", 《 Splendid Alcoholic Beverage Culture of the World 》 by Wu De- duo published by Chengdu Press, 1993). Mr. Wu declared his research result at the Fourth International Academic Conference on Chinese. History of Science and Technology held in Australia in 1988. Dr. Joseph Needham, head of orient science and technology history of Cambridge University, who was engaging in compilation of one huge works 《Chinese History of Science and Technology 》, show extreme concern to Mr. Wu's paper, expressing to revise part of the section on distillers in the works. This paper also attracted the attention of scholars at home. Some people such as Wang Youpeng thought there had existed the distiller in Eastern Han Dynasty, saying the distilled alcoholic liquor started in the same period 《Water's Shape-Sweet, Fire's Temper-Hot.. . Academic Paper Collection of First Academic Conference on Chinese Beverage Culture in Sangzheng》, published by Guangdong Paople's Press, 1988).
The bronze distiller's structure of Eastern Han Dynasty had some similarity to that of Jing Dynasty. The distiller was composed of two sections-a pot and a container which was 53. 9cm high, the container had a part for storing alcoholic liquid or solid fermented substrate with a cooling room, on the side of it was an outlet, through which condensed alcoholic dew flew out. On the top of the container was a inlet, which might be used to add alcoholic mash in at times.
The opinion that the distilled alcoholic drink started during Eastern Han Dynasty hasn't been accepted. For it is hard to determine existence of the distilled alcoholic liquor based on the distiller whose use was unclear and inadequate historical written records. Apart from them, many other brewing historical data after Eastern Han Dynasty had no records of it.

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