With a group of fifteen Palestinians and foreigners we visited the Arak distillery of Nader Muaddi in Beit Jalla. This podcast episode was recorded during his presentation.
Nader Muaddi is very passionate about the craft of distilling Arak and the Palestinian heritage of this product. Arak is the oldest spirit in the world. Every single spirit comes from the roots of Arak. It started in the 8th / 9th century when the Arabs had their renaissance period. The first person documented in the world to distill alcohol was the Arab scientist Jaber Bin Hayan, after whom 'algebra' was named, who lived in Baghdad. He said that it is of little practical use but of scientific significance nonetheless.
He originally created the still to refine the process of making 'al-kuhl', the medieval eyeliner that was used to make lines under the eyes to absorb the sunlight. It didn't work for that purpose so he tried using it for other purposes and he discovered how to distill it to make alcohol, that could also be used for medicinal purposes. And people didn't know how to name it so they used the name 'al-kuhl', the name of the eyeliner. When it arrived to the European ports the name changed in pronunciation to alcohol.
In this podcast episode Nader explains the history of distilling Arak in a very engaging and informative way and he really brings pride to this old craft.
If you want to follow him on Social media go to his Instagram @muaddi_craft_distillery
Or on facebook: www.facebook.com/ArakMuaddi
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