Friday, January 20, 2012

Introduction to the Art of Making Whiskey

From the preface to the 1819 book.

The most usual drink in the United States, is whiskey; other spirituous liquors, such as peach and apple brandy, are only secondary, and from their high price and their scarcity, they are not sufficient for the wants of an already immense and increasing population. As to wine, in spite of all the efforts and repeated trials made to propagate the grape-vine, there is as yet no hopes, that it may in time become the principal drink of the Americans.

To turn our enquiries towards the means of bringing the art of making whiskey to greater perfection, is therefore, to contribute to the welfare of the United States, and even to the health of the Americans, and to the prosperity of the distiller, as I will prove in the sequel.

The arts and sciences have made great progress; my aim is to diffuse new light on every thing that relates to the formation of spirituous liquors that may be obtained from grains. Most arts and trades are practised without principles, perhaps from the want of the means of information. For the advantage of the distillers of whiskey, I will collect and offer them the means of obtaining from a given quantity of grain, the greatest possible quantity of spirit, purer and cheaper than by the usual methods. I shall then proceed to indicate the methods of converting whiskey into gin, according to the process of the Holland Distillers, without heightening its price.

If the principles hereafter developed are followed, the trade of distiller will acquire great advantages, that will spread their influence on agriculture, and consequently on commerce in general.

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