Production & Process

The Ins & Outs of Distilling from Beer

Whiskey is famously made by distilling beer, but any distiller will tell you that the “beer” that goes into the still bears little resemblance to the commercial stuff you sip on game day. While it won’t kill ya, those...

Slow Distillation

Being an aficionado of the Slow Food Movement since the beginning, I would like to add another antidote to the tyranny of the fast food industry and the frenzied pace of modern culture. Slow Distillation By using ancestral methods of distillation,...

Hot & Dirty

Glorious spirits come from hot and dirty fermentations. Boring spirits come from cold and sterilized environments. But unsellable, horrible products also come from hot and dirty fermentations. Like so many things in life, knowing how hot and dirty to...

One-Shot vs. Concentrate or Concentrating on Gin with a Single-Shot

There are many different ways to create gin, even before you switch on the still. Even after the distillate is produced, a whole range of different decisions and options exist. A simple way to produce gin is to put botanicals...

How Species and Terroir of Oak Affect Flavor

Oak first appeared on earth a little over 65 million years ago. Today, oak trees grow to maturity in the temperate zones, but many of the species are shrubs and quite unsuited to barrel production. There are more than...

Juniper

Just as juniper trees stay the test of time and can live to be hundreds of years old, juniper berries have been an enduring flavor in the repertoire of distillers through the centuries. Liquids present challenges to archaeologists, as they...

Grains Are Grapes

American whiskey and, in fact, most American spirits of any type, are made from a combination of cereal grains. Regardless of their origin, however, all of these grains and even most fruits grown for use in beverage alcohol share...

Summer 2016 Book Reviews

Distilled Stories: California Artisans Behind the Spirits Edited by Capra Press, 2016 Softcover/256 pages ISBN 978-1592661060 $20.00 Distilled Stories: California Artisans Behind the Spirits (edited by Capra Press) recounts the stories of 32 California distillers and how they came to make distilling their profession....

No Warning

April 24, 2015, began as a benign spring morning, by ordinary measures. The fire marshal’s report says the temperature was 59 degrees, with a soft wind of 8 mph blowing out of the east through the gently sloping meadows...

Mezcal & Tequila

When driving through the deserts connecting the regions in Mexico where mezcal and tequila are produced, the landscape shows many similarities between the two areas, including the cacti dotting the rolling desert hills into the distance. Of the many...