Tag Archives: Liquor

Shape Matters

There are three types of Pot Stills: Onion, Lantern, and Pearl. The shape of any given still directly affects the eventual flavor of the liquor being made.

BFD_02.10.19_Dis.Types of Stills

The Bottom 1%-ers

In 1946 Vodka made up less than 1% of the alcohol that Americans were drinking. By 1965 it would become the nation’s top selling spirit.

Before WWII (1941-1945) whiskey had reigned supreme as Americans’ favorite liquor. However, rationing of raw ingredients through and for several years after the war dramatically diminished the production of recreational alcohol.

Since whiskey generally takes 4 years to make—whereas vodka can be ready to drink in less than a week—Americans turned to other spirits, as whiskey would not be plentiful for many years.


Alotta Booze

For Super Bowl LI in 2017 Americans spent $1.3 billion on beer & cider, and a combined $2 billion on wine & spirits.

Here’s hoping you find a fun Super Bowl party, and do not have to be one of the 17.2 million people who call in sick the day after! And if your modern hangover cure has not been working, check out the ancient Aztecs’ remedy.

BFD_02.03.19_Fac_Super Bowl

Alcoholism Circa 1864

Where today we look at alcoholism as a dependence on alcohol in any of its various forms, 19th century America had a very different take. Back then liquor (especially whiskey, gin, and rum) were the chiefly attributed to alcoholism.

In the 1800s wine was seen as too sophisticated to contribute to a condition so brutish as alcoholism. Often times even beer was seen as too weakly alcoholic to be of any dependence-concerns.

Wine was actually seen as so benign when it came to alcohol-dependence that in 1864 (Feb.): Harper’s Monthly recommends Sangaree as treatment for alcoholism.


Evaporated Booze

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).

BFD_11.01.18_Fac.Alc.Boil Temp

An Ambergris Alternative?

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.