To make beer or wine you start by taking a non-alcoholic barley or grape juice and turn it into alcohol by harnessing the wonderful power of yeast. To make liquor, on the other hand, you need to START with something that’s already alcoholic. Next, you extract the alcohol and leave behind the non-alcoholic part.
This is what stills do. Since alcohol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, you can extract the alcohol and end up with moonshine.
Alcohol boils at 173° F (78.3° C). Water Boils at 212° F (100.0° C).
Compounding (or mixing) alcohol with a vast array of chemicals is how people during Prohibition took Everclear and ended up making something that would look and taste somewhat like whiskey, for instance.
During prohibition Compounding took place to illegally produce liquor look/taste-a-likes. However, humans have been compounding alcohol with thousands of ingredients for thousands of years to create new and different liquors.
‘Ambergris’ is a grey waxy substance produced in the digestive tract of sperm whales, and it used to be used to flavor Brandy.
I bet you know that America’s nation-wide Prohibition banned the sale and transportation of alcohol from 1920-1933. But, did you know that small parts of the country opted to go dry many decades before that?
In once such locale: Atlanta, Georgia voted to go dry in 1885. Before this happened Red Wine mixed with Cocaine had been a popular drink both in America and Europe.
Coke-a-Cola began in 1886. It’s inventor mixed Cola-syrup with Cocaine after a local Prohibition ordinance in Atlanta, Georgia banned alcohol.
Wine has been counterfeited for so long that Pliny the Elder once complained about forgeries of Roman wines. This summer a champagne counterfeiting ring in Spain was busted with $1.7 million.
Americans started counterfeiting champagne even before the Revolutionary War. It is much cheaper to make something that resembles French bubly than it is to import it on sailing ships.
Depending on the quality level for which they were aiming, our forefathers counterfeited champagne with everything from Apple to Beet Juice.