hist-brewing: RE: Distillation

Henry Davis henry at henry-davis.com
Tue Sep 4 08:24:47 PDT 2001

At 10:18 AM 9/4/01 -0400, bjm10 at cornell.edu wrote:

>On Sun, 2 Sep 2001, Henry Davis wrote:
> > If you read the laws carefully, you'll find that stills under one 
> gallon in
> > capacity are not required to be licensed, and are legal for non-alcoholic
> > distillations. DON'T try to fudge it and distill alcohol or alcohol based
> > extractions.
>With that in mind, has anyone experimented with a faux aquavitae via
>infusions in or mixing the essential oils in legally-obtainable alcohol
>(vodka or everclear) and some amount of water, if needed?

Aqua Vitae has several different definitions and recipes available during 
the middle ages and earlier. One of those recipes has us distill ordinary 
water 19 or more times to create Aquavitae. Others use a combination of 
herbs, as others have already written, infused in water. Some other recipes 
advocate the use of wine or beer as the source material.

It's important to note that the results of infusing herbs in Everclear will 
be very different from those obtained by distillation. With distillation of 
the infusion you fraction the essential oils from the herbs. If you just 
infuse the herbs you get a different set of oils in different proportions.

For the non-alcoholic aqua vitae(s) it is permissible to distill  the 
infusions to create the same aqua vitae as is described in period medieval 


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