Related entry: Essentiae.—Essences
Spirits, as now prepared, are simply alcoholic solutions of essential oils or other volatile bodies. Formerly they were made by the distillation of mixtures, of water and aromatic substances, hence their name. As many of the oils usually entering into spirits do not vaporize at the boiling point of alcohol, it is customary, in distilling them, to dilute the alcohol with a sufficient amount of distilled water to insure the volatile substances being carried over into the condenser with the aqueous vapors. When aromatic plants are used, they should be first macerated in the alcohol for a few days, and then distilled by means of steam or a salt-water bath. In the German Pharmacopoeia, Spiritus is the official term for alcohol.