The condensation and vapor that comes off the alcohol during the distillation process is called "spirits." The term "spirits" was first used in the 16th century.
Wine has been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Other forms of alcohol were first used in the 16th century as medicine. It took a couple hundred years for people to figure out that it not only tasted good, but it made them feel good as well. During the 18th century, alcohol like gin took off, and alcoholism was born.
Today, alcoholism is a problem in America with about 15 million people suffering from the disease.