A small jar of clear liquid in a brown bag appeared on my desk this week. It was a sample of the moonshine one of my colleagues had just made and it was DEE-licious. He made it by simply adding a special type of yeast to a tub full of sugar and water, fermenting the mixture and then running it through his reflux still for about 4 hours, then filtering it through a long column of activated charcoal. The alcohol came out very smooth, at 160 proof (meaning 80 percent alcohol) so he diluted it half and half with water, producing an 80 proof vodka. Who knew making your own high-quality alcoholic beverages could be so easy? (And yes, we know the alcohol industry and federal tax folks have managed to make it currently illegal to do this in the United States.)
Stay tuned — MOTHER EARTH NEWS has an article coming up next year about Artisan Alcohol Distilling.
Photo by Brenna Long