A Concise History of Home Distillery

I’m sharing this little introduction to home distilling. If you’ve never thought about this before, it may be worth looking into. Enjoy!

Convivial Supper

Distillery.

The science of distillation has been around since 3000 BCE. There are four types of distillation: laboratory, industrial, herbal/perfumery, and food processing. These last two, herbal/perfumery and food processing, are the two we concern ourselves with today.

What Is Distillation?

Distillation is a process of purifying liquids through controlled boiling and condensation. A liquid is converted into a gas/vapour through heat, and then recondensed through cooling to return the vapor to a liquid form.

How Do You Distill?

You’ve probably seen an apparatus called a retort, or alembic, a glass container with a long, bent neck sloping downwards. As the substance heats up, the vapor travels down the neck and cools. A separate container catches the vapor as it returns to a liquid state. Figures III and VII below show two vessels that could be used to distill (1727).

Chemical_Vessels_1727-Alembic-Retort Fig. VII shows a distillation setup. 1727

As you can…

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