Making pure ethyl alcohol at home is a satisfying and profitable hobby forthose who live in countries where it is legal to do so. Do-it-yourself types, who cur-rently enjoy making beer or wine, find it particularly interesting because it is a log-ical extension of both these activities. There is the same fermentation stage wheresugar is turned into alcohol but then, instead of drinking the brew, it is subjected toa very rigorous purification process. This process is fractional distillation, a scien-tific procedure which can be guaranteed to produce a perfect product every time
—a sparkling, crystal clear alcohol of almost pharmaceutical quality.The pure alcohol is then diluted with water to 40% and used as such(vodka), or flavored with exotic herbs such as juniper berries, cardamom, orris root,coriander and other botanicals to give London Dry Gin. Or fruit is steeped in thealcohol to make a pleasant after-dinner liqueur. The freedom to make spirits extendsconsiderably the range of beverages available to the amateur and he/she is no longerrestricted to just beer and wine.Although it is illegal in most countries for amateurs to distil alcohol, andeven illegal to own the equipment amazingly enough, fortunately it is not illegal towrite about it or read about it. The purpose of this book therefore, like that of its pre-decessors, is to open up the subject to intelligent discussion. This it will do bydescribing in detail how to construct the equipment, followed by a description of how to use it to make vodka. The reader will then know, from a complete under-standing of the subject, how the present attitudes of officialdom are based on acompletely false premise.It might well be asked why anyone should bother to read about a procedurewhich is illegal, or learn how to build equipment which it’s illegal to own. Theanswer is that this is the first step, the necessary step, in changing the law so thatsuch an innocent hobby becomes as legal as making beer and wine.New Zealand has recently (1996) legalized amateur distillation, probably asa result of its isolated location in the south Pacific and freedom to think for itself. Itdoes not have to march in lockstep with the hidebound democracies of Europe andN. America. Surely the rest of the world must follow New Zealand’s lead soon if itis not to look ridiculous. However, governments are notoriously slow to change andit will take persuasive arguments to overturn entrenched opinions. For those cru-saders who wish to embark on such a noble task it is imperative that they know thefacts thoroughly and can dispose intelligently of the myths which surround the sub- ject of distillation. This book will provide such persons with the ammunition theyneed.