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There are different types of spirits, like whisky, vodka, gin, rum... that almost all of us know and have tasted, but what exactly is a spirit?
Spirits are beverages covered in its elaboration to a distillation process. Distillation and evaporation are 2 very similar processes that can be used to separate 2 elements. Heat the mixture until it begins to evaporate:
- If we keep the item which does not evaporate, the process is called evaporation (for example, when seawater evaporates and get salt) .
- If we keep the item evaporated, we are developing a spirit.
To develop spirits the first thing we do is macerate the product you want to distill with water and let ferment (as with wine, the sugar of the product turns into alcohol). Once produced the alcohol, it should be separate from the water.
As the alcohol begins to evaporate at 78ºC, while water does at 100ºC, the first vapors is the alcohol. Those vapors are passed to another container where, as they cool, they condense and return to their liquid form.
The first outcome will be a distillation of 10 alcohol degrees, because it will be mix with some water, so you have to repeat the distillation 2 or 3 times to get a liquor between 40º and 50º of alcohol, as the best-known drinks often have.
The difference between the various spirits will be the origin of the distilled alcohol, the alcohol flavouring with other products, the type of water used or a further aging in wooden barrels.
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