by Libation Staff | Last Updated: October 17, 2021
When you think of moonshine, you probably think about an illegal, backwood-brewed drink made by moonlight, hence the name. However, there is much more to this exciting drink, and it gets a new lease on life with a new generation of moonshine lovers.
Believe us when we say that moonshine is not a drink for your grandpa or quirky uncle to enjoy. Instead, moonshine is now a staple in many cocktails. Mixologists today constantly find new ways to introduce moonshine into blends, and it is now a regular thing to come upon flavored moonshine.
Whether you call it moonshine, mountain dew, choop, hooch, homebrew, mule kick, shine, white lightning, white liquor, corn liquor, corn whiskey, pass around, firewater or bootleg, this drink has made an impressive comeback and is here to stay.
- 1 What is Moonshine?
- 2 Fruit moonshine recipe. Recipe for making berry mash at home How to make fruit mash for moonshine
- 3 Fruit moonshine recipe. Recipe for making fruit mash for moonshine
- 4 Moonshine from a mixture of fruits at home. Cooking fruit moonshine
- 5 Fragrant Moonshine from Dried Fruits with and without Sugar
What is Moonshine?
Moonshine is the drink produced during the Prohibition era when alcohol production and consumption were made illegal by the US Government. People made a mash from grains, starches, and fruits; basically, all ingredients contain sugar fermented and converted into alcohol.
The distillation of the mash produces the drinkable liquor, and because it was done by moonlight, the product was named moonshine. The liquid is distilled several times to achieve the clarity, purity, and high alcohol content this drink is known for.
While today moonshine is no longer illegal, the name stuck, and now people make moonshine in plenty of varieties, which we’ll discuss more below. We’ll also include recipes on how you can make flavored moonshine at home using ingredients you already have in the house.
Flavored Moonshine Using Everclear
Yes, you are reading this correctly; you can use Everclear to make a homemade flavored brew. Everclear is grain alcohol with very high alcohol content, and it is considered an unfinished product, which makes it ideal for use as a base for homemade flavored brews.
There is no unique stuff necessary, as you only need a bunch of good fruit, sugar, clean jars, and alcohol. You can use peaches, blueberries, pineapple, blackberries, or whatever you have accessible near you.
Wash and prepare the fruit, cleaning, removing the pits, and cutting up whatever needs cutting.
Place the fruit into clean jars, for example, one jar of peaches, one jar with blueberries, and whatever fruit you are using.
Add the sugar; how much you use depends on the amount of fruit you have, but as a general rule of thumb, it is one cup fruit to one spoon sugar. Pour in your alcohol; you can use Everclear or vodka, fill up the jars and close them tightly.
Shake well for the sugar to dissolve and leave them in a cool, dark place. Shake occasionally and check the flavor until you are satisfied with it.
Once it is done, or in about a month, you can strain out the liquid and have your own fruit-flavored liqueur, and you can serve the alcohol-infused fruit with your favorite cocktails as a garnish.
We suggest you use Everclear instead of vodka, as Everclear is pure grain alcohol without any added flavorings, and it is the closest thing to moonshine you can get. If you get the high-strength version, you need to dilute it to the strength you need. In case you are using vodka, it is already diluted to the proper ABV. Here are some more recipes for making homemade flavored moonshine.
How To Make Strawberry Moonshine?
Strawberry moonshine is such a potent reminder of summer, and you can sip it straight or mix it with sparkling water for a refreshing cocktail. Here is a general recipe you can use, and you can substitute the strawberries with any fruit:
- 1 quart of 100 proof Everclear (diluted)
- 2 cups fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Mason jars
- Fine strainer or cheesecloth
Wash the fruits, removing leaves and stems, and thinly slice them to have a more exposed surface. Fill the mason jars up to 2/3 full, and add a spoon of sugar and top up the jars with Everclear. Close the lids tightly and shake well to help dissolve the sugar.
Place the jars in a dark, cool place for about a month, and occasionally shake to help the infusion. When you decide the moonshine is to your taste, strain the liquid and store it in a fresh jar or a bottle.
You now have a refreshing strawberry moonshine liqueur that you can enjoy in many varieties.
How To Make Lemonade Moonshine?
Fruit moonshine recipe. Recipe for making berry mash at home How to make fruit mash for moonshine
The original and self-sufficient taste, the incomparable and rich aroma of fruit distillate, as well as the availability and cheapness of the ingredients used – perhaps this is more than enough to quit all business and start making fruit mash for high-quality moonshine of the highest standard.
Moreover, from the point of view of taste, there is no difference in which fruit to use for mash – almost every fruit equally gives off its specific taste and aroma.
All that remains for you is to find the most suitable taste for you and, precisely following the recipe, make your own fruit mash for first-class moonshine.
Let's consider several reliable recipes for home brew made from various fruits, proven by many generations, on the basis of which, without much effort, it is very easy to make moonshine of a sufficiently high standard at home.
Sugar and Yeast Option
The preparation of this type of fruit mash directly depends on the sweetness of the raw materials used – the sweeter the fruit, the more alcohol the yeast can process.
This recipe assumes that the total amount of sugar in the mash will be 25%. Therefore, it is very important to determine in advance the percentage of its content in the fruits used, and then calculate the missing volume of the sweet component and add it during the cooking process.
Need to prepare
- Wash the selected fruits with running water, then dry them on paper towels.
- Remove the seeds, if any, and grind the fruit until smooth. If you do not get rid of the seeds, then the bitter taste in an already prepared drink cannot be avoided.
- We transfer the fruit gruel to an iron or glass container, after which we leave it for a couple of days in a warm place, allowing it to ferment on its own. To avoid dust and various insects, I recommend covering the puree with a gauze cloth, previously folded in two or three layers.
- Add clean drinking water and the missing amount of granulated sugar to the fermented mass. If you get too thick puree – increase the amount of added water.
- Stir the prepared mixture thoroughly to dissolve the sugar grains as much as possible.
- We breed wine yeast separately by dissolving it in water heated to 25-30 ° C.
Add the resulting yeast solution to the prepared wort.
- Pour the prepared solution into a fermentation vessel, after which we put a hydraulic seal on its neck. Instead of a water seal, you can use a conventional medical glove, in one of the fingers of which you need to make a small hole in advance.
- After the shutter stops emitting bubbles (the glove deflates and sags), the brew will brighten and taste bitter, without a hint of sweetness, and a sour aroma spreads around the room, removes the shutter and carefully drain the liquid from the sediment formed at the bottom of the vessel.
Then we pass the liquid through a fine strainer or gauze folded several times.
- Pour the filtered fruit mash into the alembic and distill twice. The first time directly, without division into fractional stages, and the second time – with the division of the “body”, “heads” and “tails”.
Sugar and Yeast Free Option
If you want to make homemade moonshine of the highest quality, which is famous for the complete absence of a yeast aftertaste and has a pronounced fruity aroma, then you need to abandon any additional components, except for fruit and water. In this case, the fermentation process is started using wild yeast on the surface of each fruit.
Despite the fact that such yeast works much slower than artificial yeast, fruit mash has a more real natural aroma and taste, and this is obtained only because during prolonged fermentation, the fruits used have time to completely release all essential oils.
Need to prepare
- In no case do I wash the fruit, otherwise the wild yeast, which is so valuable and necessary for fermentation, will be washed off. If the fruits are too dirty, then lightly wipe them with a damp cloth, removing only dirt and dust.
- We check the fruit for rotten areas and, if necessary, cut them out.
If there are bones, then remove them.
- Twist the fruit pulp through a meat grinder or grind it thoroughly in a blender bowl. The result should be a homogeneous fruit gruel.
- We place the resulting mass in a fermentation container, and then insist for a couple of days in a warm place hidden from the sun.
If there is a desire to give the future strong drink a light almond flavor, then add 4-6 seeds of any fruit to the fruit puree.
- Add spring, well or bottled water at room temperature to the slightly sparkling wort.
- Stir the mixture and place a water seal or a medical glove with a small hole in one of the fingers on the neck of the fermentation vessel.
- We wait until fermentation completely stops. It takes approximately one to three weeks, depending on the sweetness of the fruit used and the temperature in the fermentation room.
- When the evolution of gas stops, and the mash loses its sweet taste and becomes bitter, you can start filtering the fruit mash. First, carefully drain it from the sediment formed at the bottom of the vessel, and then pass it through a fine strainer or cotton-gauze filter.
- Pour the cleaned and wrought home brew into the moonshine still and carry out a double distillation.
Get acquainted with video tutorials from experienced distillers that will help you understand the simple method of making fruit mash at home.
Initially, I recommend studying a simple recipe for creating high-quality fruit mash using wild yeast. An interesting and informative excursion awaits you, covering the basics of winemaking: preparation of fruits, washing and spreading the pulp, reducing acidity and subtleties of installing a water seal.
In this video tutorial, you will learn how to put fruit mash on artificial yeast with your own hands and how to correctly calculate the missing amount of granulated sugar. You will also get acquainted with the process of distilling the finished mash on a moonshine still into first-class homemade alcohol.
And finally, I want to present a full-fledged, detailed process of making fruit and berry moonshine, which is quite easy to prepare on your own, without leaving your home and without special knowledge of winemaking. An experienced master will initiate you into the secret mysteries of home brewing and share his invaluable experience, endowing you with useful tips.
- If you are not in the know, then I want to enlighten you and tell you about a good and accessible recipe for everyone. The drink surprises with its pronounced, refined aroma and refined, noble taste, which are observed in some expensive store-bought alcoholic beverages.
- An incomparable and surprisingly high quality moonshine can be prepared on the basis of. The finished product has a charming bready taste, as well as a light aroma of fresh kvass.
- Perhaps not everyone of you knows that it is very simple and quick to make without outside help, which is a little sour or stagnant on the shelves of the pantry, having lost its original fresh aroma. An equally tasty and aromatic product is obtained on a base that is no longer suitable for human consumption.
Fruit moonshine recipe. Recipe for making fruit mash for moonshine
Most people, hearing the word “braga” or “mash”, wrinkle their noses in disgust.
For many, it is associated with a semi-finished product with an unpleasant smell, which is used for further production of moonshine. However, in fact, it is a completely independent drink.
Braga is suitable for consumption and is distinguished by a pronounced taste of an alcoholic drink, quenching thirst, and a weak heady effect.
Mug for drinking is a complete product without a distillation process, but this does not mean that each prepared drink will taste good. The ingredients are responsible for the taste of the drink. A wide variety of juices, berries, fruits, as well as honey and compote can be suitable for.
Homemade mash recipes
You need to know that a delicious brew is obtained with the correct proportions of water, yeast and sugar. The drink will be ready after a fermentation period, which can take from a few hours to two to three weeks, given the composition. It is necessary to observe the thermal regime (25-30 C).
The most pleasant brew to drink is getting ready from juice, jam or honey… Mead is the drink of our ancestors. Legends were written about its benefits and wrote in many ancient sources. Despite the heady effect, it was drunk by all, without exception, both children and adults. To prepare mead you will need:
- 300 grams of honey;
- 2 liters of water;
- 5 grams of hops;
- one teaspoon of yeast;
Moonshine from a mixture of fruits at home. Cooking fruit moonshine
Fruits and berries are not only delicious, but also very beneficial for human health. There are a huge number of recipes for cooking dishes from fruits, but not everyone knows that fruits and berries can be cooked quality moonshine.
The thing is that fresh fruits contain a considerable amount of fructose, which gives fruits and berries a sweet taste.
Braga for moonshine from fruit is obtained simply and quickly, but only if the distiller prepares it according to the recipe and follows all the rules for preparing such raw materials.
Features of alcohol from fruits
Different fruits contain different amounts of sugar. For example, in plums it is 9-16%, in apricots – 5-23%, in apples – 8-16%, etc.
To prepare fruit moonshine without adding sugar, it is necessary that the selected fruit consists of at least 25% Sahara.
However, there are no such sweet fruits in nature, so the moonshiner will in any case have to add sugar to the preparation of fruit mash.
There are a large number of recipes for making mash from berries and fruits. One of the most popular recipes for obtaining fruit moonshine is the one according to the rules of which alcohol must be prepared from plums. The recipe for such a drink is as follows:
- Ingredients such as: 12 kilograms of plums, 1.5 kilograms of sugar, 10 liters of drinking water and 100 grams of yeast are taken.
- First of all, plums must be pitted and mashed. If the seeds are not removed from the fruit, then because of this, the resulting alcohol may have an unpleasant bitter taste.
- Sugar must be dissolved in a small amount of water. sugar syrup then added to a container with plums.
- Yeast is diluted in water at a temperature of 35 degrees and also poured into the mash preparation.
- It is necessary to add 8-10 liters of water to the workpiece. After that, the future mash is put in a warm place for a week.
- After this period, the mash must be filtered and poured into alembic moonshine still. Raw materials must be distilled once in the distillation mode and one more time in the rectification mode.
At home, you can also make moonshine from apples. To obtain mash from these fruits, 20 liters of water, 30 kilograms of apples, 20 grams of dry yeast and 4 kilograms of sugar should be prepared.
First, the apples should be sorted out, the areas of rot, pits and tails removed. If this is not done, moonshine will be bitter. Apples after preparation must be cut into small thin pieces. After that, the pieces of fruit should be crushed to a puree consistency in a blender or grated.
The puree is transferred to a container in which the mash will ferment. Meanwhile, syrup is made from sugar and water and poured into apple puree. After that, the yeast should be diluted with warm water and added to the mash.
A water seal is placed on the neck of the container in which the mash is located and placed in a place where the temperature is maintained at 18-28 degrees.
The fermentation period of raw materials varies from five to forty days, so the state of the mash must be constantly monitored.
As soon as the raw material ceases to emit carbon dioxide, and also acquires a bitter smell and taste, it can be considered ready for distillation.
Fruit brew for moonshine is distilled twice.
Alcohol from berries and fruits can be prepared not only from fruits, but also from their juice. For example, a recipe for making mash from apple juice. To get a mash, you should take a kilogram of sugar, 5 liters of apple juice, 3 liters of water and 10 grams of dry yeast.
The preparation of moonshine begins by adding sugar to the juice with yeast. The blank is filled three-quarters of the container for the fermentation of the mash, put on a medical glove on the neck. The container with the preparation of moonshine is placed in a warm place.
The fermentation period, as in the previous recipe, will depend on the sugar content of the apples and the type of yeast.
The readiness of the mash can be determined by the glove – when it is blown away, it will be possible to assume that the raw material for distillation is ready.
Moonshine from berries and fruits has an excellent taste and delicate aroma. This drink can be served with any meal. Braga from fruits can be made regardless of the season, which is its advantage for distillation.
When preparing alcohol from fruits, you can experiment with different berries and fruits, since they all contain sugar in their composition.
Many people prefer this particular drink among others. alcoholic products, it is quite easy to prepare it from various available products, in other words, you can easily choose a drink “to your taste”.
Consider the fruit moonshine recipe
Making this type of moonshine is highly dependent on the sugar content of the fruit you want to use. If you choose the ingredients in advance, you can use the table of the percentage of sugar and water in fruits and berries. So, for example, most sugar can be found in apricots, and its small amount in sea buckthorn.
The recipe for fruit moonshine at home implies that the amount of sugar in it will be 25%. Therefore, it is very important to know the percentage of its content in the raw materials used, after which you can calculate how much sugar you need to add to your chosen berry.
- So, the fruits or berries you have chosen are crushed. Before this, you need to remove the bones to avoid a bitter aftertaste in the already prepared moonshine.
- It is not worth washing berries and fruits, because wild yeast, which any fruit has, is washed off with water. They will be useful during fermentation.
- Fruits mashed into gruel should be left for a couple of days, giving them the opportunity to wander on their own. During this time, you can choose the most suitable for you.
- After that, the required amount of the missing sugar and water is added. The table mentioned above, which can be found in the recipe book for the manufacture of various blanks, will help you find them out.
- If you take a berry with a low juice content, when crushed, a thick puree is obtained. Then some water is added to the wort. After which it is filled with sugar, as in.
- After the fermentation process is over (it can last about a week), it is required to filter the mash. You can do this with gauze, through which the mash is poured into a container for distillation.
- In order not to spoil the product, you need to make sure that there are no parts of berries and fruits left in the mash. And of course, it is necessary (we recommend choosing a device with a brand distillation column). You can choose the device that is right for you using.
- After the first distillation, you need to determine the percentage of alcohol in moonshine. In the event that it is less than forty degrees, a second distillation is carried out. After that, moonshine according to the fruit recipe becomes stronger.
From various fruits you can find on our portal.
Despite the relative ease of preparation fruit moonshine has some taste features, which are characteristic exclusively for specific types of fruits or berries.
Given the fact that almost all fruits and berries are excellent raw materials for mash, the wide range of this drink is not surprising.
Regardless of the type or variety of fruit raw materials, moonshine always acquires a pleasant aroma and excellent taste, filling literally every sip of this drink with unique summer notes.
Fragrant Moonshine from Dried Fruits with and without Sugar
In order to make dried fruit moonshine, you can use raw materials which have expired. Even slightly moldy fruits can be used (boiling them will destroy the mold), but you should cut away the rotten parts to avoid bitterness. Following the described method will let you produce a fragrant distillate with light fruit notes.
Theory. Any dried fruits are suitable for making moonshine: prunes, figs, dried apricots, dates, raisins, apples, pears, cherries, etc. You can mix different types of fruits in one brew, getting the original flavor and flavor tones. Just remember that prunes give bright smoky notes which are very prominent when combined with apples and pears.
During the drying process, the pulp gets dehydrated, but fructose and dry substances that play a major role in creating taste and aroma of the drink remain. To start the fermentation it’s enough to dissolve fructose in water – make a compote, then add distilling yeast or wine yeast. The total sugar content of the must should not exceed 20%.
The yield of dried fruit moonshine depends on the sugar content of the raw materials, so it’s difficult to predict the volumes in advance. The sweeter the pulp is, the more beverage you will end up with.
To increase the yield, you can add sugar – 2.2 lbs/1 kg will give additional 1.1-1.2 liters of moonshine (40%). However, sugar slightly spoils the fruity aroma.
You’ll have to choose between quantity and quality.
On distillers yeast, the brew from dried fruits ferments for 4-10 days, but such yeast degrades the aroma. For fruit brews, it is advisable to use store-bought wine yeast. With such yeast, the brew ferments longer (25-60 days), but the organoleptic properties of the beverage remain.
- Dried fruits – 6.6 lbs/3 kg
- Water – 18 liters and additional 4 liters per 2.2 lbs/kilo of sugar
- Sugar – 2.2-6.6 lbs/1-3 kg (at will)
- Yeast – (Distillers Yeast or Wine Yeast)
- Citric acid – 0.3 oz/10 grams
Citric acid is needed to stabilize the acidity of the must, which promotes fermentation. I recommend adding citric acid if you add more than 2.2 lbs/1 kg of sugar.
Dried Fruit Mash Recipe
- Grind dried fruits with a blender or in any other way. The smaller the pieces, the better the release of sugar which increases the yield of moonshine.
Warning! It is desirable to remove pits first. If you can’t do that you shouldn’t use a blender for the raw materials. Just use them right away so that the pits remain intact and don’t make the mash bitter.
- Put the dried fruits in a cooking pot, add sugar (at will), cover it with water in ratio 1:4 – pour 4 liters of water per 2.2 lbs/1 kg of raw materials (along with sugar). Stir the mixture.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so that the dried fruits don’t stick to the bottom and burn.
- Remove the cooking pot/brewing kettle from the heat and add the remaining water and citric acid. Mix them up.
- When the must cool down to 28-29°C add the prepared yeast.
- Pour the mash into a fermenter, leaving at least 25% of the space free for foam and carbon dioxide. Install airlock. You can use a medical glove with a hole in one finger as a homemade airlock.
Glove instead of classic Airlock
- Put the dried fruits mash in a dark place with a temperature of 18-28°C. Depending on the yeast used, after 4-60 days, the water seal will stop releasing gas (the glove will deflate), and the mash won’t be sweet anymore and will become slightly bitter. There will be sediment at the bottom. These signs indicate that fermentation is over.
Making Dried Fruit Moonshine
- Filter the fermented mash through gauze, squeeze the pulp dry. Without the filtration the remains of the pulp will burn, spoiling the taste of the beverage.
- Pour the liquid mash (without pulp and pits etc) into a moonshine still. Distillate the mash for the first time at maximum speed without dividing it into fractions. Stop collecting the product when ABV becomes less than 30%.
- Measure ABV of the obtained distillate. Calculate the amount of pure alcohol – multiply the volume in liters by ABV in percent and then divide by 100.
- Dilute the beverage with water to 18-20 degrees and then perform second distillation. Collect the first 12-15% of the yield from the amount of pure alcohol in a separate container. This harmful stinky fraction is called “foreshots” and can only be used for technical purposes.
- Collect the main product (“middle run”) until ABV falls below 45% and then finish the distillation or collect “tails” separately.
- Dilute the obtained dried fruit moonshine with water until you get the desired ABV (usually 40-45%) and then bottle for storage.
- Hermetically seal the bottles, leave them for 2-3 days in a dark, cool place to stabilize the taste before tasting.
link to What is the best still for beginners?
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