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.
Can be obtained by distillation, from any article that is capable of undergoing fermentation.
The alcohol that is commonly found in commerce, is obtained from corn or potatoes, and contains an essential oil which is removed by rectification or filtration with charcoal (see Filtration): and when alcohol is thus cleansed of grain oil, it is then suited for the purposes of the manufacturer, and is known under the name of Neutral Spirit.
This spirit, when flavored, and the various articles added to give a vinous, mucilaginous, oily, or dry taste, are called Imitation Liquors, by virtue of their possessing some of the leading characteristics of the distilled spirit which they are supposed to represent.
Tartaric, Citric, and Sulphuric, are used for imparting acidulous vinous taste to liquors.
Of these acids, that of Tartaric is made from or extracted from tartar, a peculiar substance which forms on the inside of wine casks, being deposited there during the fermentation of the wine; by some manufacturers, cream of tartar is preferred to any other acid.
Citric Acid is the peculiar acid to which limes and lemons owe their acidity ; it is present also in the juice of other fruits, such as the cranberry, the red whortleberry, red gooseberry, currant, strawberry, raspberry, etc., etc. Citric acid is prepared from the juice of the lime or lemon.
Sulphuric Acid. - From the low price of this acid, it is used extensively for adulterating vinegar, and also in any form that an acid may be required for wines,cordials, etc. This acid is made from the combustion of sulphur - this acid should be kept excluded from the atmosphere, in well stopped vessels - this acid is used in forming the beading mixture, for giving a bead to the low proof liquors; for this formula, look under the head of Beads for Liquors.
Alum is manufactured occasionally from earths which contain it ready formed, but most generally from minerals, which, from the fact of their containing most or all of its constituents, are called alum ores. The principal alum ores are the alum stone, which is a native mixture of sub-sulphate alumina and sulphate of potassa.
The alum stone is manufactured into alum by calcination, and subsequent exposure to the air for three months; the mineral being frequently sprinkled with water, in order that it may be brought to a soft mass; this is lixiviated and the solution obtained, crystallized by evaporation.
Several varieties of alum are known in commerce. Roche alum, so called from its having come originally from Roccha, in Syria, is a sort that occurs in fragments of the size of an almond, and having a pale rose color, which is given to it by bole or rose pink. Roman alum also occurs in small fragments covered with a rose-colored efflorescence, derived from a slight covering of oxide of iron,
Alum is used for fining liquors; it is first finely powdered, from 3 to 5 ounces to 40 gallons of liquid, and it is used for imparting roughness to wines. The astringency of alum is preferable to catechu in the light wines.