Another good place for distilling books is http://www.powells.com
Below is a review by Don of three books available there.
All are really good & usefull. Mine just turned up last week (I'd taken
the slow& cheap 6 week delivery option). Its the first time I've bought
stuff over the Internet - it was easy, quick and safe. I'd recommend
You can also buy them from Don (see the last paragraph for details)
1) Practical Distiller by Leonard Monzert, circa 1889 reprinted by Lindsay
Publications, Inc. $8.95
The Author Leonard Monzert was a professional distiller and rectifier.
This is a valuable reference book for any small distiller or anyone
interested in a view from
the American pre-prohibition era. Monzert's book is simply and concisely
include the basic construction and operation of both pot and column stills.
The 1889 writing of this book is an important aspect of this publication as
In distillation history the coffey continuous column patent still had just
come into use.
It's greater capacity and economy dominated the traditional pot still for
first time in industrial production. This new still give's birth to
the first blended whiskey. The excitement towards modern distillation is
palpable in this treastie from the golden age of industrialism.
Monzert's work contains many traditional formulas, including
several that are for various reasons, no longer in production.
One is "Red Ratafia" liqueur a cordial made of red cherries, black
cherries, raspberries, strawberries, brown sugar, neutral spirits,
mace and cloves. Another is "Absinthe Suisse" made with long wormwood,
short wormwood, green anise, long fennel, star anise, corriander, hyssop
and neutral spirits.
Instructions included for essences and botanical extraction are as valuable
today, as when they were first written.
Also of interest is a diagram of the poteen still used by the "Irish
The greatest value of this book is that it gives a complete manual overview
of alcohol production. This enables any small producer to perform tasks by
hand until more proper equipment can be afforded.
2) Distillation of Alcohol & De-Naturing by F.B. Wright, circa 1918
by Lindsay Publications, Inc. $14.95
This is the first alcohol reference book written after
"The Free Alcohol Act of 1906" which for the first time allowed
tax free production of de-natured alcohol for fuel and industrial use.
This change in governmental regulation, allowed the large agricultural
sector of the economy to become self-reliant by making it's own fuel.
All internal combustion engines of this era ran on alcohol.
This technology was crucial to a segmented nation without a
national highway system.
There is a great inclusion of governmental regulations
of the era and it is contrasted to contemporary farm alcohol production
programs of Germany & France.
Large beverage alcohol chapters are filled with a great variety of
still pictures and technical drawings. Many of the still drawings are
given as teaching examples and become superceded by more
contemporary designs. For example: "Gillaume's inclined column still"
was used for molasses distillation and is more forgiving of solids and
boil overs than vertical designs.
Many entire factory layouts are included in addition to mere still designs.
Raw adjunct ingredient processing of potatoes and beets are
shown in detail, along with the standard grain and fruit juice.
This work is a pre-prohibition "how to book" to build your own still or
distillery, it is much more than a simple formula book. It no doubt,
helped many family farms gain additional use from scarce resources.
3) Manufacture Of Whiskey Brandy & Cordials by Irving Hirsch,
circa 1937 reprinted by Lindsay Publications, Inc. $9.95
The author Irving Hirsch, LL.B. LL.M. was a Chemical Engineer
and Technical Consultant.
This book contains a great deal of information in all aspects
of alcohol production in great detail. There are
many formulas for spirits, herbal extracts and cordials.
The formula chapters include: Rye whiskey, Apple Jack, Pear Brandy,
Slivowitz, Fruit Brandy,Rum, Gin, Aneseed, Benedictine,
Blackberry Brandy, Coffee Liquor, Kimmel, Lindburg Bitters,
Maraschino Liquor, Orange Liquor, Peppermint Liquor, Rum Liquor,
Raspberry Liquor, Stomach Bitters, Vermouth, Walnut Liquor,
Absinthe Cordial, Apricot Cordial, Chartreuse, Creme de Cherry,
Creme de Cocoa.
True to his era, the author believes that single malt whiskey
is too strongly flavored to drink straight and should be
"improved" by being blended with column distilled spirits.
He also intimated that, the time is close at hand when chemical
science will make the aging of non-neutral distilled spirits unnessary.
However, he redeems himself many times over, with a plethora of
flavor corrective and maturation accelerating techniques.
Several of Hirsch's inventions are noted in industrial microbiology
texts through the late 1950's.
This book has a great deal of practical information found nowhere
else. It leaves the reader wondering when and why we stopped
trying brave new beverage distillation techniques.
All three of there book are available in paperback for $33.85 per set + S/H
Outterson, LLC 7747 Woodstone Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45244
Tel 513-474-3521 Fax 513-474-9384