The Art of Botanical Distillation

Craft herbal magic with us as we learn about the art of botanical distillation. We will be using a beautiful copper alembic still for this workshop. We will cover the process of making hydrosols, which are a water-based product commonly used in skin care, aromatherapy, and have various uses in herbalism. Botanical distillation is a way of capturing the essence of our terroir, as batches of hydrosol will chemically vary based on soil composition, rainfall, sun exposure, plant variety, health of the plant, and time of harvest of the plant used.

We will take this opportunity to forage local plants and gain a deeper understanding of these plants through the process of distillation. Distillation can offer us unique insights on plants that are revealed to us during distillation. We will cover the basics from the history of plant distillation, choosing your copper distiller, cleanliness, why choosing the right water source matters, plant harvesting, and the basic technique to make high quality hydrosols.

Distillation is the art of capturing a plant’s volatile properties using a copper alembic still. The basic process is that herbs are added to a large copper pot with water The water is heated to a boil, and the steam it creates releases and volatilizes some plant constituents such as essential oils, which then go through a condenser filled with cold water to turn it back to a liquid state. This is the way of making essential oil and hydrosols. In the essential oil industry, hydrosols are deemed as being the “leftover” of making essential oils, but in cultures around the world, hydrosols are a valuable product in their own right.

Hydrosols are aromatic waters that have been distilled from plants using a copper alembic still. Hydrosols are the cellular waters of the plant that encompass the water-soluble properties of the herbs mingled with a little bit of essential oil that comes naturally through the distillation process. You can use hydrosols in aromatherapy, herbalism, skin care, in ceremony, rituals, and more.

I am very excited to be offering this workshop and being able to teach this special craft. Herbal distillation is such a love of mine. I think it’s the magic of fire, water, and air that come together to make a product that captures the essence of a plant, and the essence of its terroir. This is a unique opportunity to learn about botanical distillation and to craft a hydrosol with us. Distillation takes time and patience, which is why we require a whole day to cover all the basics and craft a hydrosol of our own. Participants get to take home a bottle of hydrosol, as well as the skills and confidence to experiment with botanical distillation at home.

This is NOT a course for distilling spirits/liquor.

1 Full Day Workshop Sunday

Participants: 15

Cost: $85

Marissa Baumeister

Marissa is a community herbalist and farmer who grows high quality medicinal and culinary herbs on her small herb farm in Cobourg, Ontario. All products are crafted with care and with the highest standard of quality in mind. She hosts workshops and herbal circles to build community, share herbal skills and knowledge, and build relationships with plants and people.

@marissasherbgarden on Instagram and Facebook

Registration Opens March 1st @ 10:00 am

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