Distillation is a process which heats a liquid substance to its boiling point so the resulting vapors can be collected and condensed into a separate container. Distillation has been used for isolating perfumes, making moonshine and removing impurities and organisms from drinking water. Commercial companies use large equipment to achieve distillation, but stills are also available for home use. Rather than investing in the cost of personal home home distillery equipment, you can make your own still using nothing but a couple of empty wine bottles, a condenser hose and a heat source.
Things You'll Need
- Two empty wine bottles
- Condenser hose
- Cheesecloth or wire mesh strainer
- Duct tape
- Circular clamp
Sanitize used wine bottles in the dishwasher by running them through a dishwasher cycle set on the hottest setting. Wash empty wine bottles in the sink if you do not have a dishwasher. Fill the sink with a mixture of antibacterial soap and hot water. Immerse the bottles in the water and allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes. Rinse the bottles in plain water to remove all soap residue. Leave the bottles to air-dry.
You can also sanitize empty bottles by placing them in a pot of boiling water.
Strain the liquid you plan to distill if necessary. It's important to remove debris and impurities that may affect the distillation process. Pour the liquid through a fresh piece of cheesecloth or mesh strainer into a large sanitized bowl or pot. Discard the used cheesecloth, and cut a new section if successive straining is required. Transfer the strained liquid into one of the empty wine bottles.
Fit the neck of the wine bottle with a flexible condenser hose made of plastic, vinyl or light-weight metal. Choose a condenser hose that can stand up to high temperatures and one that will move and bend slightly as needed. Make sure the hose fits over the opening of the wine bottle. Seal the connection between the hose and the wine bottle with heat-resistant duct tape.
You can also use flexible circular clamps available in most hardware stores.
Apply a heat source to the wine bottle containing the liquid for distillation. The easiest method is to use a pot of boiling water on the stove. Place the wine bottle in the pot, and bring the water to a slow boil. Let the heat of the boiling water warm the wine bottle so the liquid inside begins to release steam into the condenser hose. Be sure to monitor the pot of boiling water at all times.
Position the other end of the condenser hose over the mouth of the empty wine bottle. Secure the hose to the second wine bottle with duct tape or circular clamps so the condensing liquid drains through the hose into the empty wine bottle. When the distillation process is complete, you can seal the wine bottle with a cork for simple and convenient storage.
- Photo Credit wine bottles image by Valkh from Fotolia.com wine and beer bottles image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com colino image by Renato Francia from Fotolia.com two hose clamp image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com