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A Spontaneous Libation for your Consideration

From the Knowledge Vault

On the ’Rack

The Curious History of an Early Spirit

It went like this, but wasn’t. Some four thousand years ago in Mespotamia, the perfumers at the court of King Zimrilim created a technique to separate the essential oils of precious woods and flowers from the woods and flowers themselves in order to embalm their dead. Originally, this probably involved soaking flower petals in warm water and capturing the fragrant oils that rose to the surface. What they called this method is lost, but other cultures refined their work into the art and science now known as distillation.

Many ancient scientists ran up against this phenomenon. In the fourth century BCE, Aristotle realized that seawater could be made drinkable by distillation, and that the process could be applied to wine and other liquids, though there is no record of his actually distilling wine. To the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks, distillation must have seemed like magic, and their knowledge was guarded from unknowing eyes.

A major advancement in distilling came between the 3rd and 4th century CE with the invention of the alembic (from the Greek ambix – a cup, typically made of glass) by Zosimos of Panopolis, an Egyptian. Having two vessels, one with the liquid to be distilled and one to catch condensed vapors with a tube running between them gave much more control and finesse to this delicate process. With a few modifications, this device is now known as a pot still.

Recent Additions

  • Iron Ranger — Bourbon, Falernum, Bitters, Pineapple juice, Lemon juice, Simple syrup, Mint, Cinnamon stick
  • Coley Cobbler — Sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca, Gin, Demerara syrup, Orange
  • Alechata — Reposado Tequila, Becherovka, Cream, Simple syrup, Salt, Cinnamon
  • Oaxacan Lady — Mezcal, Bénédictine, Amaro Montenegro, Bitters, Lime juice
  • Forbidden Fruit (Aisha Sharpe) — Apple brandy, Pimm's No. 1 Cup, Peychaud's Bitters, Bitters, Lemon juice, Simple syrup, Ginger beer

Recent Discussion

  • Re Explorer's Dream, 10 minutes 22 seconds ago danoman89 commented:

    Tasty and complex, but strong and a bit imbalanced

  • Re Pretty Bird, 14 hours 11 minutes ago smparkes commented:

    We had a stray pomelo from root stock of our lemon tree. It's gone but we kept one fruit. Nice and tart!

  • Re Silver Lining, 20 hours ago drinkingandthinking commented:

    I agree that it's basically a watered down whisky sour riff, but with less soda and a bit more Licor 43 it's a solid 3 and worth exploring.

  • Re Grumpy Brit #1, 2 days ago Mixin In Ansley commented:

    Agree with the too-heavy Campari thought. This drink should deliver the pimms which it does not- too citrusy.

  • Re Cherry Bomb, 3 days ago meltingUpwards commented:

    I like this as an equal parts all 1oz/30cl.
    Then 2 dashes of firewater bitters and 2 dashes cherry cacao bitters.