Aqua Vitae Recipes

from The Art of Distillation, by John French, 1653


Two very simple recipes for aqua vitae/spirits of wine:
 

        How to make Aqua vitae, and Spirts of Wine out of Wine
Take of whatever wine you please, put it into a copper still, two parts of three being empty, distill it with a worm untill no more spirit come off, then this spirit will serve for the making of any spirits out of vegetables; but if thou wouldst have it stronger distill it again, and half will remain behind as an insipid flegm; and if thou wouldst have it yet stronger, distill it again, for every distillation wil leave behind one moity of flegm or thereabouts; so shalt thou have a most pure and strong spirit of wine.

        How to make aqua vitae out of beer
Take of stale strong-beer or rather the grounds there of, put it into a copper still with a worm, distill it gently (or otherwise it will make the head of the Still fly up) and there will come forth a weak spirit, which is called low wine; of which when thou hast a good quantity thou mayest distill it again of it self, and there will come forth a good Aqua vitae. And if thou distillest it two or three times more, thou shalt have as strong a spirit as out of wine, and indeed betwixt which and the spirit of wine, thou shalt percieve none or very little difference.



According to Puck from the Distiller's list, "Uisghe Beatha is the gaelic translation of Aqua Vitae.  Water of Life.  Which is used to describe distilled spirits in part of  period etc etc as I said before.  There was originally no distinction  between starting ingredients re the name of the end product."

From French's _Art of Distillation_:

Usque-bath  or Irish Aqua vitae, is made thus
Take a gallon of small Aqua vitae, put it into a glass vessel; put thereto a quart of Canary sack, two pound of Raisins of the Sun stoned, but not washed, two ounces of Dates stone, and the white skins thereof pulled out, two ounces of Cinnamon grossely bruised, four good Nutmegs bruised, an ounce of the best English liquorice sliced, and bruised, stop the vessels very close, and let infuse in a cold place six or eight days, then let the liquor run through a bag called Manica Hippocratis, made of white cotton.

This liquor is commonly used in surfets, being a good Stomach water.


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