This section is from the book "The Manufacture Of Liquors, Wines, And Cordials, Without The Aid Of Distillation", by Pierre Lacour. Also available from Amazon: Manufacture of Liquors, Wines, and Cordials, Without the Aid of Distillation.
Owing to its peculiar, though feebly aromatic taste, honey is one of the most useful articles that can be found for giving a fine body, and the apparent virtues of both brandy and wine to the palate when used in imitating liquors or wines. When used in the finer liquors, it may sometimes need clarifying; but, generally, if it should be heated and strained, will answer all purposes. The usual impurities are earth, sand, and coloring.
Is only used for its coloring substance, which it yields best to a solution of sulphuric acid. The blue from indigo is only used for cordials.
Is used to indicate the presence of starch in liquors; in this manner it is used in detecting French brandies. See chapter on "Ascertaining the Purity of Brandies."
Imparts its color to water and alcohol; the color that is imparted to boiling water is of a much warmer tone than that of any other; the color is of a deep red, bordering on purple. This is suited for the wines, and is sometimes combined with burnt sugar, in coloring brandy.
Is sometimes used in manufacturing liquors; the ob-jection to its use is, that it contains a large portion of charcoal, and that it is indebted to it for its own color; this charcoal being in such minute particles, that their removal is attended with great difficulty, as finings will have no effect on them. It is exceed ingly difficult to render a fluid transparent that holds molasses in solution, and for this reason coloring for liquors should never be prepared from molasses, and coloring, from this source, may be known by the heavy color it leaves in liquor.
Or clean spirit, is a spirit of variable strength, say from 40 to 70 per cent, of alcohol. This spirit is colorless and inodorous, though, as usually found, it has the odor of rum, or acetic ether, which is generally added to conceal some slight trace of remaining grain oil. The only reliable tests for this spirit are the hydrometer, and nitrate of silver; the former indicating the per centage of alcohol, and the latter that of grain oil. And neither should this spirit, when drunk, or after having been drunk, leave any disagreeable or heavy sensation in the throat or on the palate, and all the disagreeable and stinging sensations should pass off without leaving the slightest traces of astringency, roughness, acridness, or of pungency in the mouth or throat, as these indications would point to the usual adulterations of acrimonious substances. These remarks will apply to any other liquor for detecting adulterations.
This is used in solution for detecting grain oil in liquors; the silver throws the oil to the surface of the liquid in the form of a black powder; this will serve to detect fictitious liquors generally, or at least as far as common grain spirit may enter into their composition.
Red and black oak are best suited for the manufacture of liquors, both for coloring and tannin; the bark is best suited for brandies, as it yields a fine brown color, and its bitter principle adds a pleasant taste to the liquor. The color can be obtained either by infusing the bark in water or spirit. Sulphuric acid is sometimes added to liquor colored with this bark, as the acid gives to the liquid a bright trans parency.
In some manufactories oak bark coloring is used to the exclusion of sugar coloring, for brandies. The coloring is prepared from the bark by infusing it in barrels, along with proof spirit; fresh bark is added to the spirit until it becomes an amber color, it is then used in the same manner as brandy coloring.
Care should be observed that no metallic body comes in contact with liquid containing tannin, either in the form of oak bark, catechu, or tannic acid, as the color must, to a greater or less extent, become contaminated.
The most convenient mode of discharging oak bark coloring, or tannin, in any form, is by a solution of gelatine, composed of one to three ounces of isinglass, beat fine, or to shreds, and dissolved in warm water, two pints, and when cold, whisk to a froth with water, and add it to forty gallons of spirit.