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Reviving the ancient craft of hydrosol

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The team from Alembics guide us through hydrosol.

Hydrosol is a distilled aromatic water. We like to think of it as the cellular water of plants. Small-batches of heavenly scented and hydrating hydrosol can easily be prepared at home using fresh, fragrant botanicals such as rosemary, kawakawa or rose geranium and a copper alembic Appliance Still

When we first started running distillation workshops 12 years ago, hardly anyone had heard the word ‘hydrosol’. Today, over half our students are familiar with the term and attend our workshops primarily because they want to learn how to make their own distilled waters from seasonal botanicals they have growing in their backyards. 

Hydrosol is not new, even though it has a new name. Distilled aromatic waters have been used by humankind for centuries. The oldest copper alembic still ever discovered is reportedly 4,000 years old! Archaeologists uncovered it on the island of Cyprus at an ancient site dedicated to the production of scented oils and aromatic waters.

As early as the seventeenth century, dedicated still rooms were often essential features in many private homes—industrious maker-spaces where beer, wine and spirits were routinely prepared alongside distilled aromatic waters and oils by ‘women of the house.’

In recent years, small-scale artisan distillation has become immensely popular again, due to a growing collective desire to connect in deeper ways with plants and their potential for wellbeing. 

Hydrosol can be sprayed directly over the face and body throughout the day for an uplifting and ultra-hydrating pick-me up, used safely on children, and depending on your botanical of choice, they can even be mixed with soda, tonic and other carbonated drinks for delicious non-alcoholic beverages.

If you’d like to learn more about hydrosol, sign up for one of our upcoming workshops or visit our how-to pages on our website.

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