What Shape is Your Still?
It takes heat–at least 173 degrees worth–and a still to produce distilled spirits. There are two basic styles of stills: the continuous still (also called a column still or Coffey still) and the pot still (an offshoot of which is the alambic, or alembic, still used for brandies).
The continuous still technology is used by many of the major distilling companies because it is quicker and produces larger quantities of spirits. The continuous distilling process also allows for spirits with higher proofs. Pot stills are used for most brandies, liqueurs, Scotch and other malt whiskies, tequila, some rums, and even gins. Pot still spirits usually have more flavor and body than their continuous still cousins.
Rick Lyke is a drinks journalist based in Charlotte, NC.