St. Patrick referred to distilled spirits as Aqua Vitae: The water of life.
As Europeans traveled eastward they learned about the art of distilling from Persians and Muslims who used it in the purpose of producing perfumes. The monasteries of Ireland perfected for consumption, and the world was a better place. Uisce beatha. The Gaelic Irish term which gave us whiskey.
This St. Patricks Day what are you filling your Glencairn glass with? I've got a bottle of Jameson Distillery Reserve that picked up in the Old Country ready for sampling this Thursday. This 12 year blended has been aged in sherry butts from Portgual.