A still in almost every home

A domestic necessity and a hobby combined into one, distilling was an art practiced by genteel ladies in early modern England (1500-1800). A ceramic alembic still, an advice book, and a few recipes acquired through notes and letters from friends and family were the tools that converted garden botanicals and imported spices into medicines and pleasant beverages. Frequently distilled from wine and even stale ale or beer, the base spirit was then infused with botanicals and strained for drinking.—5 Feb 2020, A. Miller