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.
Are used in the manufacture of the cheaper kinds of liquors, wines, cordials, and vinegar; the object of their use is to supplant the place of alcohol, to pro duce the stimulating, burning, and biting effects of the alcohol on the palate. For example, a given quantity of water may be charged with a proportional quantity of the tincture and solution of pepper, pellitory, sulphuric acid, a very small quantity of alcohol, wheat flour, or mucilage of slippery elm and burnt sugar, and sanders wood coloring, and you will have an article of spirit that will compare favorably with any of the domestic liquors of the day, at a cost truly astonishing. The articles above enumerated cost comparatively nothing. The pepper is preferable to spirits of nitre for producing a false strength for liquors, as it is not destruct've to health; and pecuniarily, it is more economical. Liquor, adulterated as above mentioned, after having been swallowed, leaves a dull, heavy, slightly stinging, acrid sensation in the throat and palate, which continues for a few moments. This sensation is rarely, if ever, noticed, as it is regarded as one of the peculiarities of all alcoholic drinks; and as an evidence of this, thousands of gallons of the above article are consumed annually, under the name of domestic brandy, etc. And, while on this subject, I would remark, that any liquor should be rejected that leaves the slightest tingling sensation in the throat.
Description and Preparation of Pepper, known under the Names of Grains of Paradise. - Guinea pepper, and Melegueta pepper, are kept in the shops; small seeds, of a round or ovate form, often angular, minutely rough, brown externally, white within, of a feebly aromatic odor when rubbed between the fingers, and of a strong, hot, and peppery taste. They are brought from Guinea; their effects on the system are analogous to those of pepper.
Guinea pepper is prepared for use by grinding, or nulverizing to a powder, one to one and a half pounds of the powder to a gallon of proof spirit, and used for giving false strength to liquor, in the proportion of from one to two quarts, to forty gal lons; this tincture should be well strained, to prevent muddiness in the barrel, after the pepper has been added.
Description and Preparation of Pellitory. - Pellitory, the dried root, is about the size of the little finder, cylindrical, straight, or but slightly curved, wrinkled longitudinally, of an ash brown color externally, whitish within, hard and brittle, and sometimes furnished with a few radicles, and destitute of odor, though when fresh, of a disagreeable smell; its taste is peculiar, slight at first, but afterwards acidulous, saline, and acrid, attended with a burning and tingling sensation over the whole mouth and throat, which continues for some time, and excites a copious flow of saliva; of the two substances just mentioned, viz. pepper and pellitory, preference must be given to the pepper in all instances, although they could be used to a decided advantage in combination for the coarser liquors, as common whiskey and brandy; the pellitory is too powerful, and not at all adapted to the nature of fine or light liquors, as the acrimony would partially destroy the flavor of the liquors.
The burning sensation produced by pepper and alcohol is nearly identical: and it must be obvious that the former will answer all the purposes of the lat ter, with the exception of not furnishing the intoxicating quality, which must be added in the form of alcohol.
In the manufacture of all the cheap light wines, cordials, etc, where alcohol would be an important consideration, pecuniarily, Guinea pepper will answer admirably. Although, I would not recommend this, or any other foreign substances, for producing a false strength in liquors, where it was intended for a pure article; the alcohol, if added in a sufficient volume, will answer all purposes. The manufacturer should not lose sight of the fact, that the powerfully biting and burning sensation that is found in some liquors, is not the slightest evidence of its purity. Mildness of taste is one of the characteristics of a good liquor, and the successful operator should copy nature as closely as possible.