Published in 1809, Samuel M'Harry's Practical Distiller book was only the second American book on distilling! It documents the early days of the development of American Whiskey. It was published only 15 years after the Whiskey Rebellion had forced a number of distillers to move down river to Kentucky. American Whiskey was mostly Rye Whiskey. All distilling was batch distillation done in pot stills, as continuous distillation had yet to be invented!

M'Harry's books is by far one of the scarcest American distilling books, and few copies seem to have survived the 200 years since it publication. We are proud to republish this fine title before it became extinct!

'Practical' Distiller
M'Harry, apparently, learned the business of distilling in America. He appeared to have gathered as much information as possible through contact with other distillers, and practical experience. Distilling was his business, and he claims to have written the book to help answer all the requests for his distillation help by others. He found that distilling books, from other countries, were useless for American distilleries. In his own words, foreign books were "so at variance with our habits, customs, and mode of economy".

The most interesting aspects of M'Harry's book are the sections dedicated to the production of early American whiskey!

Bourbon Whiskey Pre-Cursor
He discusses the production of whiskey from all rye, two-thirds/rye one-third corn, half rye/half corn, one-third rye/two-thirds corn, and all corn! The use of corn documents the early beginnings of bourbon! (Though the term "Bourbon" had yet to be used as a general style term for this type of whiskey.) More early evidence of the coming of bourbon is that he advocates burning straw in the hogshead to "sweeten" the hogshead. This could possibly be the pre-cursor to modern day barrel charring!

Tennessee Whiskey
The book also discusses the basis for Tennessee Whiskey! At that time, the style of Tennesse Whiskey had not been defined, but it discusses the use of maple charcoal filtering in the production of whiskey. (Maple charcoal filtering is a requirement for the Tennessee Whiskey style.) He advocates the use of maple charcoal to clarify whiskey and to aid in giving it an "aged flavor."

If whiskey is your fancy, there is probably not a better early American distilling book for you to read.

George Washington's Distillery
Samuel M'Harry's Practical Distiller is one of the books currently being used by the archaeology team which is excavating the distillery site so that George Washington's Distillery can be rebuilt! The team required good period information about distilling and distillery setup, and M'Harry's book is one of the few good references from this period.

Distilled and Other Alcoholic Beverages
In addition to the detailed discussion of whiskey production, the book also covers other beverages, such as:

  • Distilling Potatoes, pumpions, and turnips.
  • Apple and peach brandy.
  • Jamaica Spirits.
  • Wines: Honey wine, blue grape, currant, elderberry.
  • Beer: China Ale, Purl, Elderberry, molasses beer.

Table of Contents
To get a better idea of what the book contains, take a look at the table of contents from the actual book. A PDF version can be viewed by clicking here. The PDF is 111k.

Book Details
The book is hard cover bound in black bonded leather with gold foil stamping on the spine and front cover. Stamped on the cover is the silhouette of a late 1700's/early 1800's pot still. The book is 184 pages and printed on 60lb. natural offset paper.

The book has been reproduced in its orignal/eccentric size (4.5" x 7.75"). To maintain the original look and feel, we have typeset the book using fonts produced from original 200 year old typefaces. The book utilizes the "Long-S" in its typesetting as most books did during the 1700s. If you are not familiar with the long-S, Click here to read further about it.

If you would like to read an independent review of one of our books, Click here to read a review written by Jeff Renner, about our Complete Practical Brewer title. (This review appeared in the Homebrew Digest.)

How to Order

The book is in stock and available for US$44.95 Sale Price US$25.00 plus shipping.

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M'Harry's Practical Distiller:
To order M'Harry's Practical Distiller: US$44.95 Sale Price US$25.00

5 Pack (Books #3-7):
To order The Town and Country Brewery Book,Scottish Ale-Brewer, M'Harry's Practical Distiller, Combrune's Theory and Practice of Brewing, and Every Man His Own Brewer: US$190.00 Sale Price US$160.00

All Six Remaining Books In The Series:
To order The Complete Practical Brewer, Scottish Ale-Brewer, The Town and Country Brewery Book, M'Harry's Practical Distiller, Combrune's Theory and Practice of Brewing, and Every Man His Own Brewer: US$200.00

Purchasing with check or money order: We also accept checks and money orders. Click Here to go the order page.

* A limited quantity of these sets are available due to the limited number of copies remaining of some of the books. (Complete Practical Brewer and Complete Practical Distiller.)

** Sets that contain a pre-order book: If you order a set of books which contains a pre-order title, the entire set will be shipped when the pre-order title comes back from the printer.

* Disclaimer: Recipes from old books should be viewed with caution. Ingredients may have since been deemed dangerous. These books are being published soley for the historical perspective and information.