Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

alcohol, the common name for ethanol. The term alcohol, which can be applied to any of the alcohols, derives from the Arabic al-kuhl, meaning ‘the fine powder used to stain eyelids’ (today’s kohl), and thus by extension any kind of fine impalpable powder that represents the concentration, or quintessence, of the raw material involved. It was then more widely applied to fluids that represented the essence, or spirit, of something, and thus to any product of distillation.