The dream-world of their experiences in the wood near Athens becomes a kind of 'alembic' which they pass through to a truer perception of reality.
-- Ronald P. Draper, Shakespeare, The Comedies
But the more he read the more he was astonished to find how the facts had passed through the alembic of Carlyle's brain and had come out and fitted themselves, each as a part of one great whole, making a compact result, indestructible and unrivaled...
-- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
Alembic is derived from the Arabic word al-anbiq, which means "a distilling cup." It developed its broader meaning in the 1300s.