Distillation Methods for Unique Spirits
No matter what spirit you drink, chances are it has never been made in exactly the same way twice. That’s because so many variables go into creating it: the grains or fruit used; climate conditions where it was grown/distilled/aged (for those aged drinks); shape/size of still; time spent in barrel (if applicable); as well as the process itself which doesn’t just involve temperature/pressure/time calculations but requires knowledge and technique from its distiller to craft an exquisite final product.
At the core of every spirit is raw material containing liquid sugar in liquid form; typically milled or ground grain but sometimes macerated fruit or root vegetables. Once combined in a large vat or tank, yeast is added to feed off of this sugar source, producing alcohol as its bi-product and fermenting the fermented mixture further before passing through a distillation process to separate out water and unwanted components with lower boiling points resulting in concentrated alcohol liquid ready to become the basis for any spirit you choose.
Distillation typically takes place at atmospheric pressure; however, higher or lower temperatures may be used depending on the desired end product. Distillation column concentration of alcohol vapor can be controlled using something known as the reflux ratio – that is, the proportion of alcohol vapor collected back from condenser back into still divided by total collected from distillation column. This ratio regulates both purity of final product as well as energy usage during distillation process.