A word must be said about the quality of water used to dilute pure 96 percent alcohol to the 40 percent which is characteristic of most spirits. Unless the water is very soft, hardness will precipitate out when alcohol is added because the calcium and magnesium salts which constitute the hardness are less soluble in an alcohol-water mixture than they are in water alone. Depending upon the degree of hardness the effect will vary from a cloudiness to a white precipitate which falls to the bottom of the bottle.
The effect described above is perfectly harmless, the white precipitate being nothing more than the hardness present in the original water before the alcohol had been added. It is actually quite good for you. However, it is aesthetically unpleasing and should be avoided by using distilled or dem-ineralized water obtainable very cheaply from supermarkets and from certain stores which make distilled water on the premises. A further advantage of using it is that city water frequently contains chlorine which would interfere with the delicate flavour of a good gin or vodka.
Storage: Store your pure 96% alcohol in glass, not in plastic. A few 11/z litre wine bottles with screw caps are ideal. There is, of course, no need to "mature" gin and vodka; it is ready for drinking the day you make it.
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