This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Much employed formerly to burn in lamps under chafing dishes, but made too dear for general use by the revenue tax. It is in use still by persons who take pleasure in preparing special dishes over the flame of a lamp at their own table. Alcohol is the medium employed to unite with the essential oils of fruits to make flavoring extracts; extract of lemon, orange, vanilla, etc., are made by mixing oil of lemon with alcohol or steeping the vanilla bean in it. Sticks of cinnamon, broken nutmegs, bruised ginger, cloves, peach kernels, blades of mace and various other flavoring substances may be used to make ordinary extracts for cooks and bakers by putting them to steep in bottles of alcohol, which may be drawn off into other bottles when strong enough and refilled. It is alcohol that burns when fire is set to brandy or rum for omelets or pudding sauces, and when the spirit used will not burn, a little alcohol added to it cures the difficulty. Alcohol is useful to remove grease stains, and to clean silver, glass, mirrors, etc.
Rose flavoring and other flower flavors, such as orange flower, may be made by steeping the flower leaves solid packed in a jar of sweet oil for several days, pressing out the oil and mixing it with alcohol, then distilling the alcohol which carries the flower flavor with it into another vessel.