Hydrosols

Ingredients: peppermint leaves, lavender flowers, pine needles or any other plant you may prefer.

Method: simple distillation

Recommended alembics:
Split-top column alembic (steam distillation)
Alquitar
Riveted union alembic
Soldered union alembic
Distilling appliance still

Our suggestion: Riveted union alembic

Instructions:

Place the leaves and flowers of the plants you have selected in the alembic pot filled with water. Do not place too many leaves or flowers or they might burn and spoil your floral water. Place the swan neck lid on the pot, fit the condensing unit on the swan neck and fill it with cold water. As our alembics are handcrafted, a traditional technique using rye putty is used to seal off escaping vapours between the alembic head (swan neck lid) and pot (see Sealing Technique).

The alembic is then placed on a burner (electric plate, propane or butane gas burner or alcohol burner to start the process. Once the water begins to boil the small intercellular pockets of essential oils present in the plant material will burst releasing the fragrant components. These will evaporate with the steam generated, travel through the swan neck and revert back to their liquid state in the condenser. The floral waters are then collected in an appropriate container and may be filtered using a coffee filter. Care should be taken not to allow the alembic to continue on the heat source when empty or the organic material will burn.

Once the process is complete, empty out the alembic and wash it thoroughly so as to keep it in good it in good condition (see Cleaning and Maintenance) Be sure to carry out the first distillation with rye flour and water so as to remove any impurities present.

Note that:

- For making floral waters any of the traditional alembics (Alquitar, riveted union alembic or soldered union alembic), distilling appliances or basculante column stills may be used. The latter have the advantage of functioning as both a traditional alembic (without the column) or column still for steam distillation (the best method for extracting high quality essential oils.

- An alembic used for making floral waters or essential oils should not be used for distilling alcoholic beverages as any residues present may be absorbed and spoil your distillate.