Monday, January 11, 2016

All Copper Still at Vint Hill

One of the fascinating items on display at Vint Hill Craft Winery was this still, which was on the counter behind the wine bar. It was about two and a half feet tall, made of copper burnished in a woven pattern, and possibly of Mediterranean origin. When I asked about it I was told that it was purely there for display and that they didn't distill any spirits, though there are plans for a real distillery as part of the Vint Hill complex. 

I was immediately reminded of some folks I used to know down in Tennessee, known as "ridge-runners," who had a supply of what I simply referred to as "product" and they knew as "white lightning," i.e. moonshine. As a friendship gift one of them gave me a Mason jar full of a clear liquid that was obviously not water. He said to me that this was the luxury kind because it had been distilled in an "all copper still." Copper I guessed was the better metal for stills, as I had heard that some people desperate for equipment brewed  'shine in old auto radiators. I tried sampling the product and it tasted terrible. They told me to mix it with fruit juice and it would go down easy. Well this still here wasn't the "ridge-runner" kind with a spiral tube instead of a simply bent one like this example, but it was quite impressive.

When I got this drawing home I couldn't resist seeing the still as an outright phallic shape, so you get erotic and alcoholic themes combined in one shrine-like object. As I said, of Mediterranean origin. 

Black tech pen ink on sketchbook page, 4" x 7 1/2", January 9, 2016.

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