Distillation is the sixth major operation in the alchemy of transformation. In a chemical sense, it is the boiling and condensation of a fermented solution to increase its purity, and the end product is a distillate. Distillate is usually alcoholic, and this process can be repeated multiple times over to produce incredibly pure distillates.
Naturally, this was one of Laura’s favorite things to learn how to do, especially when she wasn’t yet of legal drinking age. She could make brandy in her room! But also, what teenager likes to drink brandy? (Pro tip: never go to a party as a teenager, trying to make friends and be cool by promising to bring alcohol, and show up with homemade liquor. It does not turn out well.)
But, learning how to make distillate, as simple as the process was, is a crucial component in learning to be an alchemist, and distillates of all forms turned out to be crucial to Laura’s work. She used it in simple tinctures; it was a major part of her aqua vitae (which she privately thought acted as a kind of truth serum); it helped her transform metals; and also, it was just cool chemistry and fun to watch. She loved to watch the liquid heat and move up through the alembic, only to come down and cool in its purer, more natural form. Distillation was such a beautiful process, and Laura never, ever tired of making distillate.