Question About Neutral Spirit


I'm brand new to the distilling process and have recently moved to Brazil where I have taken it up as a hobby. I am using a 4L copper pot still to produce gin.

I am purchasing my neutral spirit as I'm really only starting out and am enjoying getting to know the local botanicals without worrying too much about poisoning myself. The spirit available here is 96.7% ethanol and cereal based with less than 2g of methanol/100 ml. It's used to dilute the local cachacas after they have been distilled. It is however also used for cleaning products and pharmaceuticals.

What I want to check is whether this is a suitable base to dilute down and steep my botanicals in for distillation? I assumed that as long as the purity was high, there shouldn't be any problems. And whether there is something else I should consider when purchasing my neutral spirit?

Thanks for the help.


  • And by 2 g of methanol I meant 2 mg!!

  • edited June 2018

    Globally a lot of gin makers buy in their neutral spirit as do some vodka brands.

    the current EU general limit for naturally occurring methanol of 10 g methanol/l ethanol. Therefore what you can get works out at 0.02g/l of 96.7% ethanol:

    Defining a tolerable concentration of methanol in alcoholic drinks.

    Have a look at Methanol Safe Handling Manual - Health and Safety Module (PDF) too

  • Pharmaceutical grade chemicals generally carry an accreditation for the levels of purity necessary for pharmaceutical use.

    In the US - this would be USP Grade.

    Not sure if Brazil mimics the USP or possibly ACS, but either of these grades would be good enough for beverage alcohol assuming they are organoleptically suitable (no off tastes or flavors).

    Your supplier should have no problem providing you with all documentation necessary. If your supplier can not, move along to the next.

    Post the full assay document here and we can comment in more detail.

  • It should have the classification Apto para consumo humano. On it. If they are using it for Cachaca then it should be good if not find a cachaca maker and ask where he gets his neutral from and buy it there.

  • I’ve drank some cheap cachaca that I’m not so sure was apto para consumo humano.

  • I agree grim. I went to a place in the centre of the province of Minas Gerias called Aguas Cristallinas and I bought a couple of bottles of cachaca on the way out. Paint thinner could have been better. But the chilli sauces were amazing.

  • And so the proverbial .... "paint stripper"

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