An extraction distiller, like the one used to produce gin, is a device which converts the alcohol in distilled spirits into a gaseous form. It works on the principle of high pressure, low temperature. High-pressure, which is the basis of most distillation systems, produces the vapor that condenses into water. Low-temperature, which is also the basis of distillation, reduces the vapor to a more useful form for cooking, heating and chemical reactions. Distillation is known as the major step in making alcoholic beverages.
While alcohol molecules are mostly composed of atoms of hydrogen and carbon, some other atoms may also be present. The water molecules have an extra electron at their nucleus, allowing them to hold an extra mass of electrons. The molecular bond between alcohol and water is broken, and they separate into their constituent atoms. They are then re-united when the water molecules are brought back together again by a solvent such as alcohol. All of the molecules except the water are transformed into vapor. The remaining alcohol molecules are converted to a solid state, which can then be stored. A common type of distiller is known as a fractional distiller, where the bulk of the distillate is separated into two liquids: one from the mash, or primary distillate, and another liquid from the remainder, or secondary distillate.
There are several ways to remove the bond between the alcohol molecules. Some distillers use heat, while others use electricity. The first method uses heat to heat the liquid to the point where the alcohol molecules are dissolved. This is called hydrolysis. While a combination of heat and electricity produces a more efficient distiller, the initial investment required for this device is higher than that of the more common electric version.