The everyday use of Almonds was, and still is, important in Transylvanian society. They are used as an ingredient in many dishes and they are distilled to make delicious liqueurs. One of the most popular is the Almond Spirit, first made by Jacob Becher (brother of the famous Josef Becher).
The correct way to store the Almonds that are to be distilled is in a Triple Store. This gives the liquerist the possibility to determine which Almonds are to be subject to
There are three stages to the process (known as RDF), Rafinat, Distilat, Finisat!
The Rafinat requires careful work. First only the best almonds are selected from the triple store. They are meshed and stewed, into a porridge, wonderful of taste; the Rafinat. One must always treat the Rafinat with utmost respect. The temperature and moisture must be exactly right, and the amount of pear concentrate (rieni) must not be too high, nor too low. The Rafinat should rest for 21 days and 21 nights.
The distillation process differs little from that of other spirits. The best almond spirit is double or triple distilled. So said Jacob’s brother, Josef.
When the distillation process is complete, the finished liquid is set to rest in wooden barrels. But one last task remains; this is called the staging process, in which validation is performed by a professional agent. The Finisat is tested for, for example, impurities or internal inconsistencies. If accepted, the barrels are inserted into another triple store and will wait until they are collected by a thirsty traveler.
Written for TMHS by Vasile Sandor, Alexandru Papiu Ilarian National College