Posted by Zoe Geoffrion , on Apr, 2017
Time was, even into the early part of the 20th century, that many homes had what was called a “still room.” One might think it was a kind of storage space or pantry, but that’s not the case. A still room is where the lady of the house – or her staff in the case of great houses or castles – prepared medicines, preserved foodstuffs, made essential oils, brewed wine and beer, and also distilled a number of strong spirits for daily use.
The Origins of Distillation
Water was not considered healthy at all. It was frequently dirty – and not just in appearance since it contained parasites and waterborne bacteria such as cholera and typhoid. Alcohol was considered much more healthful, and also helped in the preservation of foodstuffs. Distillation was a “lost art” after the fall of the Roman Empire, but returned to Europe when Arab-made glass alembics reintroduced distillation. Alembic still distillation was held in such high regard that the clear, pure alcohols were called aqua vitae – the water of life.
Moonshine and Medicine
What might moonshine and medicine have in common? Alcohol is commonly used to make tinctures and extracts – that vanilla extract in your kitchen, for example. Any herb, root, or spice you put into moonshine will extract the essence of the plant. You can put in fruit just for the taste, or add herbs and spices like cloves, cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. The moonshine will take on the flavors and characteristics of what you put in there, and preserve it.
What’s Your Fancy?
Think about some of your favorite flavor combos and go for it! Try a lemon-ginger infusion, or pack your brew with berries and peaches. You can even pack a jar with vanilla beans and make your own vanilla extract. They sky’s the limit with MileHi as your source.
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