When it comes to spirits, we sure do like a good glass of whiskey and moonshine now and then, don't we? There are quite a few misconceptions and myths surrounding the distillation process, many of which are without consequence. However, some of this erroneous information could cause harm to spirits fans everywhere, so let's get our facts straight as we drink our next "neat."
Myth #1--Whiskey stones are superior
One of the most common myths around whiskey is that stones cool your drink more effectively than ice. The theory is that keeping the stones in your freezer and then popping them in your glass will cool it without watering it down. Stones actually don't do an adequate job of cooling. Ice cools your drink as it turns from solid to liquid, literally sucking the heat out of it. No stone will do an adequate job of that unless you have a fireball in your hand. Besides, some people think that adding a splash of water to your whiskey makes it taste better!
Myth #2--Knocking and denting do make a difference
Some die-hard distillers claim that every knock and dent can alter the spirit's flavor profile, but much of the time, there is no noticeable difference when the spirit is put to a taste test. A distiller faces several variables during the distillation process that can alter taste and flavor. It is nearly impossible to predict which of these conditions will have the most influence on a batch of brew.
Myth #3--The longer you age, the better the whiskey
Technically, whiskey only takes a few days to distill, and it can be consumed right away, although you'd be in for a less-than-sweet surprise if you were to take a sip. It would resemble a mixture of malted barley and rubbing alcohol. In actuality, whiskey's trademark color and flavor from an aging process performed in oak barrels. The porous nature of the wood draws out impurities from the spirit, and in turn, it lends its signature flavor to it. Longer is not always better, however. There is a sweet spot that must be found before a batch begins to take on too much flavor, and it can quickly sour after that moment is reached.
Myth #4--moonshine makes you blind
If moonshine is distilled correctly, it cannot make you blind. There are issues with improper distillation that do result in compromised sight, though. High levels of methyl alcohol can form in moonshine, and it is quite toxic. The breakdown of this compound in the liver creates formic acid, which can cause vision issues. Using improper materials to distill the alcohol, such as parts made from lead, can cause lead poisoning. Symptoms of lead poisoning include:
● Delayed cognition
● Loss of appetite
● Weight loss
● Abdominal pain
● Hearing Loss
If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming moonshine, it is best to call a doctor to discuss your symptoms and possible treatment and evaluation of your condition.
Myth #5--Only select vodkas are gluten-free
It makes sense that those who are gluten-sensitive should steer clear of anything that is made with gluten-rich ingredients. Most vodkas are made from potatoes, wheat, and other grains. Surprisingly, the distillation process removes those elements of the ingredients that initially contained gluten, so our food-sensitive friends can drink up with confidence.
Myth #6--More distillation means better spirit
While it is true that the more you distill a batch of whiskey, the better it tastes. Again, there is a sweet spot here--you are going for smooth taste and flavor, and if you over-process it, you'll know the minute it touches your lips. Over-distilling a batch is robbing it of its signature flavor and taste, so go easy on the runs through the mill! After all, you're going for the ultimate flavor profile, aren't you?
Ready to try the best? Sip on this!
Palmetto Distillery knows all the ins and outs of craft distillation---decades of history, some time-tested recipes, and a serious passion for creating the best moonshine and whiskey experience that money can buy are what we are all about! Come see for yourself--contact us and place your delicious order today! Visit www.palmettodistillery.com for more information.