Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Poor Man's Distiller


I fantasized briefly about getting a rotary evaporator ( but my dreams were promptly shot down by a ludicrous price tag (about $10k). I also thought that, even if it is a great distiller (it's called an evaporator but what it essentially does is distill through evaporation... all distillers work through evaporation), how can I justify such a price tag? How much stuff can you distill before you make your money back?

Getting a massive clue after the price tag shock, I decided to aim much lower, and with the help of one of my sous, Sean Pera, we found this cheapo home distiller.

I distilled Earl Grey tea and it came out clear as water. It was off-putting to drink clear Earl Grey, but intriguing at the same time. And I can deal with a $100 machine that does what this one does.

I have also tried other teas and infusions and they have worked well. I am going to test using vodka instead of water as a distilling medium, since it appears that the evaporation process is much faster than with water, and this concentrates flavor better.


  1. effing genius. i have immersion circulators now but before i was using my dehydrator to stick things i would cryovac in and just use the dry air that was circulating throughout the unit and the temp goes up to 155f. not bad for 250 instead of the 1000 price tag.

  2. I always love the music.
    Oh yeah, the ideas are cool too.

  3. so where would one get a machine like the one shown in the video