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Circumventing Distillation Laws Via the Miracle of Science

A must read for gearheads and basement distillers.

September 30, 2010

Over at the Atlantic.Com, unrepentant illegal distiller Dave Arnold, Director of Culinary Technology at The French Culinary Institute, experiments with a rotary evaporator (rotovap) and a cold-finger condenser to circumvent the laws against DIY ethanol distillates.

From his post:
"I started by using one of my standard liquor recipes but distilling it with the cold-finger filled with liquid nitrogen (about -200 C) instead of my tube condenser at -20 C….During distillation, I noticed that a thin layer of frost formed on the cold-finger almost immediately, even before the distillation proper started. Then I thought—hey, what if I ran water-based flavors through this thing? Maybe the super-cold condenser would capture flavors that are lost in water-based distillations made with a standard condenser? The immediate formation of frost, and its implied condensation and capture of flavorful vapor, was encouraging. If I could get water based distillation to work it would be LEGAL!"

Okay, for those of us whose last name isn’t Einstein, it takes a few reads to get it. But it’s cool stuff. Check out the full article.

Oh and if you want to read about illegal distilling in Seattle, try this one on for size.

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