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Distillation history

Views:0     Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-01-05      Origin:Site

Spirits distillation has a long and glorious history. Starting from the ancient Greeks, they gave the flammable and intoxicating liquids produced by early wine distillation experiments a divine power. Bacchus worship incorporates these early spirits into religious ceremonies.

The earliest recorded recipe for wine distillation was traced by some scholars to Anaxilaos of Thessaly, who was expelled from Rome in 28 BC for practicing magic.

Sea foam (salt) heated with new wine in an earthenware jar. After boiling, use a bright lamp to light the lamp, take the fire, and ignite spontaneously.

"Boiling" is the Greek term for distillation, and salt is a common ingredient in medieval distillation recipes because it can raise the boiling point of wine by several degrees.

The philosopher-chemist of Alexandria, Egypt began to distill around the 2nd century BC. By the 1st century AD, they used three or four different stills, one of which had three bronze outlet pipes, invented by Maria, the leader of their gang. Their goal is not to distill spirits, but to obtain substances such as sulfur, mercury and arsenic to change the external composition of base metals and dye them golden. This is part of the ritual practice, "to heal and release all the suffering of the soul."


Distillation itself is based on the concept that different substances become vapor at different temperatures. The Greeks have known this for centuries, predating the complex stills of the Egyptian philosopher-chemist. For example, ancient Greek sailors evaporated potable water from seawater. They also learned that if the wine is boiled in an open container, the hot alcohol vapor will escape first. How to capture this elusive substance? The Greeks learned that if wine is slowly heated in a container with a small mouth covered with a bowl, the alcohol will collect in the bowl in the form of condensed steam, just as the lid collects condensed water droplets. Adding downward-sloping pipes to the equipment helps to cool and condense the steam and collect it in a convenient receiving container.

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At this time, distillation was not for the enjoyment of drinking, but as a part of the mysterious religion of that era. Dionysus, the god of wine, is a respected god who has performed elaborate ceremonies in Delphi and other northern Greek cities since the 5th century BC.


In the 6th century, the Persians practiced distillation at the medical school in Jundi Shapur, where it was used to make herbal tinctures. The Arabs used large elaborate stills to make rose water and other herbal compounds, and in the 9th and 10th centuries they carried out innovative alchemy experiments, made solvents for base metals, and tried to discover "elixirs." They obviously succeeded in distilling spirits, because the poet Abu Nouise described a wine that “has the color of rain, but the inside of the ribs is as hot as a burning torch.”


The Cathar missionaries from the Balkans brought the recipe of Anaxilaus distilled spirits and the practice of fire baptism to Western Europe in the 12th century. The church eventually overcame its opposition to distilled spirits, and in the early 14th century allowed the monastery to place stills to make water of life or "water of life". The infirmary and herb garden surrounding the monastery provide medicines and formulas for special healing mixtures, which are the ancestors of modern liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.

As early as 1378, Italy discovered the distiller that directly supplied the water of life to the public, and the royal family began to employ distiller among its employees. In the 15th century, the German authorities began to pay attention to the disadvantages of public spiritual consumption, because people with no medical experience began to install stills in their homes and sold their products in front of their homes during holidays.


In 1494, the Scottish Finance Roll cited the provision of eight bells of malt to monks to make the water of life; the use of grains to distill spirits has become common in Northern Europe. There is a difference between the simple water of life. It does not prepare potions through re-distillation of botanicals as is often done in England and monasteries. The Gaelic translation of "Water of Life" "uisquebaugh" is popular among Gaelic speakers and is considered a warmth therapy in humid and cold climates.


In 1477, the first printed book on the production of distilled water to treat various diseases appeared in Germany. It is recommended to drink a spoonful of life water every morning to prevent disease. If you give it to a dying person, it is said that he will speak before he dies. The pictures in the book show a woman operating a distiller on a charcoal fire, surrounded by herbs, confirming the role of smart women who provide folk medicines to those who cannot seek medical treatment due to poverty. Around this time, distilled spirits also began to appear in recipes as a means of enhancing food presentation. For example, lighted spirits could be shot from the mouth of a roasted peacock and sewn back into its skin and feathers.


Commercial distillation in industrial stills became common in the 17th century and was full of battles over licensing and taxation. As the abuse of spirits (often of questionable quality) became rampant, the consumption of distilled spirits gradually lost its connection with spiritual symbols and medical treatment, and instead became a public health problem. Nevertheless, the reverence for the beautiful soul still serves as a testament to its ancient origin and mysterious power.


Today, small craft breweries are beginning to flourish in the United States, providing an alternative to large commercial breweries that consolidated their markets in the 19th and 20th centuries. The use of local raw materials and the revival of traditional techniques have made the microbrewery stand out, but the quality still depends on the distiller and the capacity of the distiller to produce pure and pleasant spirits. We are very happy to be part of the craft distillation movement and the long tradition of bringing the "water of life".


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