How to Make Booze at Home

A practical Guide for Making Booze In Your Home For Less Than One Dollar a Quart




Those of us who spent time in the nether regions of the world discovered that there was a considerable dearth, among others things, of what we fondly refer to as booze. This situation was superficial as it was soon discovered that a generous quantity of this booze was available and that it was locally made.

In time interest was generated into the "how" it was made and it was immediately apparent that there was a definite lack of information on this subject extant in a readable and logical form.

After sampling the locally produced product and learning through experience it did not give one a hangover, what was mild interest became an obsessive drive to learn the theory, history and making of this magic elixir, which all the mighty technology of the United States has never produced.

Many tedious, but interesting, hours were spent culling books, encyclopaedias, pumping friends and making careful observations of actual productions to collate the information contained in this booklet. We hope you find it interesting, helpful and worthwhile.

United States citizens should take particular cognizance of the section regarding liquor tax laws and practices in the United States if they desire to use this information in the states. Unfortunately, state laws regarding liquor vary to such a degree that they could not be included in this booklet and each individual must research his own state laws.

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The presence of Alcohol in numerous fresh plants and the volatile oils was known since the first dawnings of civilization; indeed, the knowledge of the presence of alcohol in these substances is presently used as an index of civilization. Hence Alcohol in its impure state was known to the ancients in the form of wine, beer, mead and other beverages produced by fermentation.

The discovery and use of Alcohol is so old that it is generally ascribed as being a donation given by a God to mankind; the most famous of these myths being that of the Greek God Bacchus teaching man the use of wine. There was, of course, the Greek God Prometheus who supposedly told man to add water to his wine so that he would not become drunk, but then there's a bluenose in every crowd.

All existent evidence indicates that the production of fermented alcohol more than likely began in the valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers the birthplace of civilization. Clay cuneiform tablets unearthed in this area indicate that the Sumerians carried on a large brewing industry as early as 5,000 B.C., which indicates that the practice had been carried on hundreds or perhaps thousands of years previous to that date.

As plant, fruit and cereal juices are ready fermenters, and because of the' wide normal distribution of yeast which initiates the process, it is highly likely that the first discovery of the fermentation process occurred by chance. A jar of fruit juice left unattended in a warm place while the owner was away on a trip, may have fermented. Upon his return, mistaking it for fresh juice, he drank the liquor thus produced and noted that it tasted good and refreshed him. He probably went on a lot more trips after this, too, as the transformation of simple juice into liquor appeared magical to those who did not understand the process.

Because of the apparent magical transformation and because of its obvious effects upon the mind and body, which the ancients assumed to be magic the fermentation of liquor is many times associated with primitive religion and the Adonis Cycle of Spring. Indeed, the association of religion and liquor lingers to this day in the Christian practice of using wine with services. The importance of wine in ancient civilization is indicated by the fact that Christ's first public miracle was the changing of water to wine.

The avidity for drinking wine by the ancients makes them sound as if they were a bunch of lushes; however, the consumption of wine was based upon a practical reason-most of the water was unsafe to drink. Liquor of course was a simple and easily available substitute which, because of the asepsis (germ killing ability) of alcohol, was safe to drink. This practice is still in wide use in France, Italy and other parts of the world.

Man continued making and drinking alcohol in its impure state for thousands of years until he discovered how to refine it. The name alcohol comes from the Arabic "Al-kohol" which means "fine powder" or the highly refined powder once used by the Arabs for painting the eyes. The merchants and crusaders returning from the Holy Land used the term signifying something which was refined to its essence; thus the name alcohol was given to the liquid refined from grapes - its essence, or alcohol.

It is assumed that alcohol was first separated by distillation around the 11th century, probably in the wine districts of Italy. Alcohol reasonably free of water was first reported by Johann Lowitz in 1796; however, the structural formula as it is used today evolved. around the middle of the 19th century.

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Pure ethyl alcohol, free of water, is a mobile, colorless liquid, having a mild, agreeable odor and a burning taste. It is very hygroscopic (attracted to water) and absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. The chemical formula for alcohol is C 2 5 H OH, though many names are applied to it such as grain alcohol, ethanol or ethyl alcohol; the limiting terminology of "ethyl" means that this particular alcohol can be converted to ether. Ethyl alcohol is that which is produced from grain.

Alcoholic vapors form explosive mixtures with air when the concentration of alcohol vapor is greater than 4.3% but less than 19% by volume and ignite very easily. The flash points (the temperatures above' which they will ignite and below which they will not ignite) for various alcoholic liquors are:

Ethyl alcohol 100%
Ethyl alcohol 95%
Rum and Cognac

55 º F
63 ° F
77 ° F
82 ° F
89 ° F

Alcohol produced by fermentation is obtained as a dilute aqueous (watery) solution containing up to 16% alcohol by volume and must be concentrated by fractional distillation. Direct distillation can yield at best only the constant boiling mixture containing 95.6% alcohol by weight or 97.2% by volume because this mixture boils lower than pure alcohol. Alcohol free of water is called anhydrous (without water) alcohol or absolute alcohol 100% by volume. This is produced by adding an entrainer (something that readily combines with water) such as benzene, which forms with water a constant boiling mixture that boils lower than the constant boiling mixture of alcohol and water. Distillation then removes the water with the entrainer leaving absolute or 100% anhydrous alcohol in the still.

The usual alcohol of commerce contains 92.5% alcohol by weight or 95% alcohol by volume and is called 190 U.S. proof. In the U. S., proof spirit is held to be that alcoholic liquor which contains one-half its volume of alcohol of a specific gravity of 0.7939 at 60°  F. In other words, ° U.S. proof spirit" or "100% proof alcohol" is 50% alcohol by volume or 42.5% alcohol by weight.

The specially designed hydrometers (water meters) used in determining the alcoholic strength of aqueous (watery) solutions are so graduated as to indicate the number of parts by volume of proof spirit equivalent to 100 parts of liquor at the standard temperature of 60 °F. They read "0" for water, 100 for U.S. proof spirit and 200 for absolute alcohol. Proof spirit has at 60 ° F. a specific gravity of 0.93426 (in vacuo.)

It should be noted that when alcohol is mixed with water, heat is evolved and contraction in volume takes place. If a volume of 200 proof absolute alcohol were mixed with an equal volume of water, the result would not be 100 proof, but something less than 100 proof.

Alcohol is toxic (poisonous) to animal organisms because it is absorbed rapidly but is converted only slowly to carbon dioxide and water. The reported rates of conversion vary from 3.5 to 15 cubic centimeters per hour. If absorbed at a faster rate than the rate at which it is metabolized, the alcohol content of the body fluids builds up and acts as a depressant (reduces activity) on the central nervous system. A concentration of around 0.2% results in a moderate intoxication (high) 0.3% in severe intoxication (stoned) and 0.4% in deep anesthesis (blind) which may be fatal.

Theoretically a man of larger body volume can drink more than a man of lesser body volume because the effects of alcohol are directly proportional to the percent by volume of alcohol present in the body; however, we are well acquainted with the individual who apparently has a hollow leg and who can drink larger men under the table. This phenomenon is due to the higher metabolic rate, of this individual which absorbs and breaks down the alcohol at a faster rate than normal, never allowing the alcoholic volume to build up to a sufficient concentration to produce obvious intoxication. Other factors such as health and emotional stability also enter into the picture. We have all experienced the time when one or two drinks have affected us very rapidly, when it usually takes five or six to produce the same effect. Emotional and physical factors change your metabolism from day to day and even from hour to hour so that no one can state that it takes a specified number of drinks to make him drunk; human nature being what it is, many think they can.

Probably the most obvious and first use of alcohol was as a beverage, but gradually other uses were discovered for this-magic-liquid. Its antiseptic (germ-killing) qualities were early recognized in the treatment of wounds, and also its anaesthetic (loss of feeling) qualities were recognized as being useful in early surgery as a pain killer. The uses have multiplied in modern times, and one can find alcohol present in paints, medicines, cleaning fluids and even, in some cases, used as a fuel for car engines. Indeed, the widespread availability of alcohol in various forms has caused the US Government, which realizes the sizeable return in taxes from this source, to denature alcohol and render it unfit for human consumption. Denaturing consists of adding a substance which is normally rejected by the human body to the alcohol, this substance is not poisonous but will make one violently nauseous (feel like puking). The substance has a boiling point at or near the boiling point of alcohol which makes it extremely difficult or impossible to remove.

During the Prohibition period the substance added to denature alcohol was highly poisonous and did cause many people who drank the denatured alcohol to become blind, demented and dead. Normal, undenatured alcohol will not produce such effects - these people were just unfortunate enough to have had a bad bootlegger.


The general conditions required for alcoholic fermentation are fermentable (capable of agitation) sugar, water, the presence of a ferment (yeast, enzyme, or bacteria), a favorable temperature, usually between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The concentration of sugar, yeast and acidity are of great importance; a sugary solution (14 to 18 percent concentration of sugar, i.e. (two pounds per gallon) is acidified with sulphuric acid to a pH (acidity) of 4 or 5 to prevent the growth of harmful organisms and yeast is added.

The rate of fermentation is dependent chiefly upon the temperature and the concentration of yeast. The rate of fermentation is twice as fast at 95 degrees F as at 77 degrees F; however, the autolysis (decomposition) of yeast is favored by higher temperatures, and the rate of undesirable by processes increased hence, it is usual to set 90 degrees F as the upper limit for fermentation. In simpler words, the higher the fermentation temperature the faster the rate of fermentation but the lower the alcoholic yield.

At the proper temperature, normal or Baker's yeast will yield approximately 9 to 10 percent alcohol; wine yeast, on the other hand, yields 14 to 16% alcohol because wine yeast has a greater tolerance for alcohol. The yeast contains an enzyme (catalytic agent) called sucrase or invertase, capable of converting sucrose (the sugary solution) into glucose and fructose; the overall chemical formula for the conversion of sugar to alcohol is:

C12 H22 O 11+H2 O:
C6 H1206 + C6 H12 06

The glucose, and fructose are convertible by the enzyme, zymase, also present in yeast, into alcohol and carbon dioxide:

C6 H1206
C 2 H 5 OH + 2      CO 2

The optimum yield of alcohol realized is 95% of the sugar and, in general practice, amounts to 90% of the amount predicted by the above formula. Glycerol, organic acids and smaller amounts of other products account for the balance.
The weight of the products from the fermentation of 10 pounds of sugar is as follows:

Alcohol 4.85 lbs.
Carbon dioxide 4.67 lbs.
Glycerol 0.32 lbs.
Organic acids 0.06 lbs.
Miscellaneous 0.12 lbs.
= 10.02 lbs.

The extra .02 pound is due to the fixation of water in the fermentation of some of the by-products. From the table of weights above, not the gobbledegook, you can readily see that the amount of alcohol will be less than 50% by weight than the original ten pounds of sugar.

In general, the chief products of vinous fermentation are alcohol and carbon dioxide (94 to 95% of the sugar) glycerol (2.5 to 3.6%) acids (0.4 to 0.7%) an appreciable quantity of fusel oils (higher alcohols), acetaldehyde, other, aldehydes and esters (an ester compound). It is the latter which provide the peculiar flavor to alcoholic beverages; while the major components of distilled spiritous beverage alcohol are alcohol and water, mixtures of the two substances alone would not afford drinks of any appreciable attraction and it is the minor constituents, which include higher alcohols, aldehydes, ethers, esters volatile acids and other organic compounds that give booze its distinctive and special characteristics, i.e., flavor, color and hangover. These minor products of fermentation are:

Formic Acid
Propionic Acid
Lactic Acid
Ethyl Acetate
Acetic Acid
Butyric Acid
Ethyl Butyrate
Ethyl Caprate

Very little methyl alcohol (the stuff that makes you blind) is produced by the fermentation of most substances used in the making of liquor. Methyl alcohol is generally produced by the starch breakdown of wood products and is thus referred to as "wood alcohol". The pectins contained in grapes and other pulpy fruits are generally insufficient to produce methyl alcohol of significant quantities, but any methyl alcohol is undesirable from the standpoint of the "morning after" effects. The liquor which has the highest percentage of methyl alcohol is brandy.

Methyl alcohol is not produced by the fermentation of pure sugar, and the addition of fruit juices or other similar substances to produce flavor is not necessary and may, in fact, produce methyl alcohol.

To insure that the ferment is working most efficiently, it is necessary that nitrogen, phosphate and potassium be present for the formation of more yeast cells, but only in small proportions. These proportions are usually found in normal "raw" or unprocessed water; however, to insure that they are present, it is better to add a chemical substitute such as ammonium phosphate dibasic or a similar substitute containing nitrogen and phosphate. A fair commercial substitute which is easily available is Calgon water softener or any other water softener.

The number and types of possible ferments are legion but within this text we will deal solely with the sugar - water mix because of its simplicity and the fact that it produces the least undesirable by-products. The usual fermentation cycle requires anywhere from 6 to 14 days although it is better to wait until the 14th day to insure that fermentation is complete.

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Distillation is the separation of the components of a mixture by partial vaporization of the mixture and separate recovery of the vapor or, put more simply, it is a method of separation and concentration based on the differences in volatility (boiling points). In order to create a distillation apparatus it is necessary to have four basic items: (1) a heat source to heat your ferment; (2) a pot to hold your ferment; (3) a condenser to cool the vapors; and (4) a receiver to collect the concentrate.

Rudimentary stills are extremely simple and consists of such construction as bamboo, wood or clay (items generally available to uncivilized peoples) - they are also quite dangerous. The sketch below is an example of a simple, very ancient still which is used in India to this day.

Crude Indian Still

The India method is very simple, but another more modern still, incorporating more safety factors and a more efficient condensing system, was discovered by a German named Liebig. This still is called the Liebig, Single Surface Condenser Still and, as can be seen, incorporates some refinements to the crude Indian still, though it still has the same basic components as, indeed, do all stills. The sketch below shows an example of Liebig's still.

Liebig's still

The addition of the thermometer is used to indicate the progress of the distillation, however, the bulb is placed just below the sidearm where the vapor leaves the still so that the thermometer reading approximates the temperature of the vapor. Thus, it allows you to select the temperature required for whatever product you wish to distill. In this case, the desired temperature is 172 to 174 degrees Fahrenheit. Actually, at or above 170 degrees F a water cooled condenser is not required, as an elongated or helical (spiral) coil provides sufficient heat loss to reliquify the vapors, however, a water condenser accelerates the process and is safer.

A practical home still is a modern variation of the crude Indian "pot" still, incorporating Liebig's single surface principle but being far safer than either. The still should be of stainless steel, glass, 'copper or some other material excepting iron throughout to prevent corrosion by the hot acids produced by the distillation process and all fittings should be airtight. The tubing running from all fittings should be copper and silver soldered (do not use lead solder) as this will go into solution and be deposited in your brain cells). The heat source can be a regular gas or electric stove or an immersion heater within the still; however, immersion heaters are very dangerous if they are not totally immersed in liquid and may cause an explosion. A typical home made "pot" still is sketched below.

typical home made pot still

The "pot" stills are designed for what is called "simple" distillation based on the principle that when distilling a mixture of substances the most volatile, or lowest boiling, distill over first, the others subsequently or not at all. As the term "simple" implies, they are not complex and, consequently, are relatively inefficient when compared to fractional distillation stills which rectify the vapors in a more efficient manner. As an example, a simple "pot" still does require four successive time-consuming runs to produce what will be produced in one run by a reflux system still which provides fractional distillation.

Fractional distillation is more efficient than simple distillation, as it separates volatile liquids which have boiling points close to one another; it is premised on the fact that no two liquids, of different chemical composition, have the same vapor pressure at all temperatures nor very often the same boiling point, however, every liquid has a definite vapor pressure at any given temperature.

The packed column containing condensing surfaces is the most important aspect of this type of still. The whole aim of fractional distillation is to achieve the closest possible contact between rising vapor and descending liquid, and so allow the most volatile vapor to proceed to the receiver while returning the less volatile material as a liquid toward the still. The purification of the more volatile component' by contact between such countercurrent streams of vapor and liquid is referred to as "enrichment" or rectification"; the descending liquid is known as reflux and, thus, the name "reflux" still.

The length and width of the reflux column determine the efficiency of the mechanism; generally a column of six inches in height and 3 to 4 inches in diameter packed with stainless steel wool, glass beads, marbles, broken chinaware, etc., will give the equivalent amount of alcohol compared to roughly one and a half to two runs of the conventional "pot" still. A column of 18 inches packed in the above fashion will give the rough equivalent of four runs by the "pot" still method a considerable saving in time and effort on your part.

The outside of the column should be insulated otherwise too much internal condensation will occur, due to heat loss to the atmosphere, and the column may become flooded, thereby impairing its efficiency.

There is some dispute on the use of a reflux type condenser, which acts in the same capacity as a regular condenser, but serves as an additional length to the regular reflux column, the reflux condenser consists of an extension of the reflux chamber, the diameter of the pipe should be no larger than 1 inch, extending upwards for 18 to 20 inches, and is surrounded by a water jacket for the greater portion of this length. Here again the problem is one of flooding the reflux column because of a rapid condensation occurring at the top of the column.

This problem can be remedied by careful control of the vapor temperature by the regulation of the amount of water entering the reflux water jacket and the proper location of the temperature bulb immediately opposite or slightly beneath the side arm condensation line. A valve should be located between the regular condenser and the input line to the reflux water jacket so that water flow and temperature control can be exact; an additional valve should be located from the drain line of the reflux condenser to gain even more absolute control.

Actually there is no requirement for any condenser in any of the stills. described here as vapors in excess of 170 degrees F. only require an elongated tube to provide condensation. In the reflux system none is required though one does aid in the efficiency of condensation; a variation of the reflux condenser canted 45 degrees off the fractionating column acts in a dual capacity (See sketch of Reflux Still) as a condenser and reflux.

A reflux still is more efficient because it allows greater control of temperature thereby negating the undesirable by-products of ordinary distillation caused by lower, or higher, temperatures. You might remember from the preceding discussion that no two liquids, of different chemical composition, have the same vapor pressure at all temperatures; so, in this case we select the vapor temperature of ethyl alcohol 173 F.

An example of a reflux still is sketched below indicating the "canted" variation and showing the various disconnects which make the apparatus less cumbersome to handle.

reflux still

In foreign lands portability, or hideability if you prefer, was a prime consideration in the construction of stills because of the prohibition on alcoholic beverages and although it taxed the inventiveness of the people there, they were equal to the task. These stills are characterized by their small size, the employment of 'the continuous flow principle and the ability to camouflage their real purpose. Many of them were masterpieces of ingenuity and frequently one would find a fire extinguisher which was in actuality an efficient still.

As in the larger, and more efficient stills, the same basic requirements must be met: (1) a heat source; (2) a container; (3) a condenser and (4) a receiver. The principal difference is the differential relationship between the various components; in simple language, this means that where the container in the conventional still is large, in the portable still it is extremely small by comparison and the same is true of other components.

As previously mentioned, the salient and most functional feature of these miniaturized stills is their portability; in one version, it can actually be carried in a briefcase. There is, however, a drawback to the miniaturization - you don't get as much booze as you would normally get from the conventional pot still; however, as previously mentioned, there is no limit to inventiveness in this hobby, and through experimentation it should be possible to increase the yield by some refinements.

Despite this drawback there are a number of advantages, outside of portability to this system. (1) an acceptable (90 to 115 proof) product is obtained in one process (run); (2) it is safer than the conventional still because of the small quantity of flammables contained in the still portion; and (3) it is simple.

There are any number of variations which can be made to this type still regarding size and arrangement but essentially the components remain the same. We will discuss here a representative model which has been practically employed in operation and is simple both from the standpoint of construction and availability of equipment to construct it.

The still itself consists of an elongated copper tube eighteen inches in length and one and one eighth inches in diameter with a mash input line, an. anti-siphon vent, a cork and a thermometer. The heating element can be external as with a soldering iron (550 watts) or, if using a coffee maker, the tube and the still can be connected together by a threaded fitting or a flange nut to form a tight seal.

In this still the mash container acts as the principal holder of the mash, slowly siphoning into the still and onto the heating element, which vaporizes the mash, thus the mash container must be higher than the still for a siphon action to take place. Stainless steel or brass wool is inserted into the upper portion of the tube to increase efficiency of vaporization.

The most critical part in the operation of this still is the absolute control of flow rate which has to be established on each run by experimentation and adjustment of the flow valve. Care must also be taken to prevent back pressure on the condenser as this will stop the siphon action.

Although the "warm" position in a coffee pot heating element will give you sufficient heat to distill your product, it is better to wire it through a thermostatic control for positive control of temperature.

To insure that no yeast residue gets into the still from the mash container, connect your tubing to a stick with the tube opening one-half to one inch above the bottom of the stick; then insert the two into your mash container and start your siphon.

A typical portable still of this type is sketched below.

portable still
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If you have read up to this point, you are probably all fired up-to start making your own booze right now! However, before we get into the actual process, it is time to point out a number of the very dangerous hazards involved in distillation, aside from being caught by the "Revenoors". You must learn these dangers and the safety practices to prevent them before you attempt to distill your ferment. You have roughly two weeks to wait for your mash to be ready so use this time to learn what not to do.

The home distillation of alcohol can be either very hazardous or reasonably safe depending upon the degree of care taken. Unfortunately, accidents have occurred resulting in death, burns to people and destruction of property.

In this discussion the unsafe practices which produce the majority of all distilling accidents are described and the proper method of operation to eliminate the hazards is set forth for your safety.

First, we must recognize and accept the fact that for all practical purposes when distilling alcohol we might just as well be distilling gasoline. Take a look at the comparable properties:

(160 Proof)
(Average Grade)
Flash Point
(Alcohol from Condenser is well above this temperature)
68 °F. -45 °F.
Ignition Temperature
(Any flame or electric spark is above this temperature.)
793 °F. 536 °F
Explosive Limits (% by volume)
(Note wide range vapor/ air mixture which can be ignited).
4.3 to 19% 1.4 to 7.6%
Vapor Density (Air = 1) 1.59 3 to 4

(Although there is a tendency for rich alcohol vapors to settle, it should be noted that alcohol / air mixtures in the flammable range have a specific gravity only very little greater than that of air (1.02 - 11); therefore, air currents will distribute such mixtures widely.)

It should be obvious from the above data that, from the fire point of view, alcohol is almost as hazardous as gasoline, and what nut would cook gasoline on his stove?

(1) IF YOU USE GLASS BOTTLES FOR MASH, BE SURE THAT THE BOTTLES ARE TAPED WITH MASKING TAPE TO AVOID THE HAZARD OF CUTS FROM BROKEN GLASS. Should, the bottle break, there is no fire hazard from mash because the alcohol content of mash is too low to create a flammable mixture at ordinary room temperatures. Never attempt to carry heavy 10 gallon bottles; their structural strength may be insufficient and they have been known to fail upon the slightest impact. Also the strength of your back is inadequate in an awkward position. Use a dolly to transport the bottle or better yet, siphon into the still. The best bet is to get metal or plastic containers from one of the many mail order houses such as Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward or use bottle covered with wicker work.

(2) NEVER FILL A STILL ON THE STOVE. Of all the dangerous things to do, the second most hazardous is to fill a still with second or subsequent runs when the still is_ on the stove. Even though the fire is out, the pilot light of the oven may be lit. Any spillage of alcohol at this time can get you into serious trouble. If the vapor flashes, you will probably drop the dispensing container, with the likelihood of splashing flaming alcohol on yourself or others, as well as starting a large fire.
ALWAYS FILL THE STILL ON THE FLOOR AWAY FROM THE OVEN . . . and, if it is too heavy for one man to lift, get help. Any of your friends will help in this important and rewarding endeavor. To form correct habits, this practice should be followed even to filling the still with mash.

(3) NEVER LEAVE THE STILL UNATTENDED. This is the MOST hazardous action of any and is ABSOLUTELY INEXCUSABLE. First: Condenser water can fail due to:

  1. Failure of hose lines
  2. Low water pressure
  3. Shutdown of utilities
  4. Failure of condenser shell

Without adequate condensing means, alcohol vapors will rapidly spread within the room until a source of ignition is reached. The degree of flash fire will depend upon the accumulation of vapors, but in most cases the fire is immediately beyond control. If the concentration of vapor is sufficiently widespread, an explosion can occur. Second, the receiver can overflow. This will create a large area from which the alcohol can vaporize. Usually, under these conditions the flash point is reached. Flash point is defined as the lowest temperature at which a liquid will give off flammable vapor at or near its surface. This vapor forms an intimate mixture which ignites.

(4) LOCATE THE DISTILLED ALCOHOL RECEIVER AT AS LOW A LEVEL AS POSSIBLE . . . and extend the run down tube from the condenser to the bottom of the receiver. First, placing the receiver at a low level will tend to keep any alcohol vapor away from the flames at the top of the stove. Note that any flames (main burners or pilots) in the oven or broiler units are usually lower and tend to draw the air for combustion from a low level; therefore, all flames, including the pilots, in ovens or broilers should be turned off. In a few (older models) all pilots are controlled from a single safety shutoff valve that shuts down the entire stove if an oven pilot goes out - on these stoves it is impossible to cut off the oven pilot and keep the top burners operating. In such cases the receiver should be located at least 3 feet away from the bottom of the stove, and the . recommendation is "Place the receiver in an auxiliary container," paragraph 6, must be followed. Second, when the run down tube extends to the bottom of the receiver and becomes submerged in the liquid, there are several safety features created: (a) The alcohol liquid that contacts air is reduced to only the stilled surface in the receiver; (b) If any alcohol vapor remains uncondensed it will bubble in the liquid of the receiver and serve as a warning of insufficient condensing capacity; (c) If there is abundant condensing capacity, the condenser will establish a partial vacuum in the system and draw up a liquid head that will stand in the run down tube. This will be proof of adequate condensing capacity. Note: When the still is first started it contains air above the liquid. As this air must be displaced, the end of the run down tube may bubble at first.

(5) USE A RECEIVER WITH A SMALL FILLING OPENING. A small opening cuts down on the quantity of vapors escaping into the room and it also saves you alcohol. If a fire does occur at the receiver, it will burn at the small opening and be easily controlled. With a large opening the fire will be much larger; a lot more heat will be rapidly given off and the fire will be more difficult to control. If-such should occur, extinguish all-sources of flame, and follow the suggestions in paragraph1, "In case of accident, immediately call the Fire Department."

(6) PLACE THE RECEIVER IN AN AUXILIARY CONTAINER. If the receiver is placed in a dishpan or other type of. auxiliary container, an accidental overflow will be restricted much more than would be the case if it should run out on the floor.


Hill Billy Still

(8) NEVER USE A STILL IF YOU DO NOT HAVE COMPLETE CONFIDENCE IN THE EQUIPMENT. Stills should be of welded or brazed metal construction with metal tubing and tight-fitting slip joints or bolted gasketed heads. All joints should be carefully made up to avoid leaks of either vapor or liquid alcohol. Condenser capacity should be adequate for the maximum rate of distillation. If you are not qualified to appraise the condition of your equipment or its method of operation, get a qualified friend to make the inspection for you.

(9) DO NOT STORE UNCUT ALCOHOL. If a fire should involve this highly flammable liquid, the situation could rapidly become very serious. Cut your alcohol BEFORE you store it. Alcohol cut to 90 proof has a flash point of 77 °F, whereas 160 proof alcohol has a flash point of only 68°F

(10) IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT IMMEDIATELY CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. DO NOT DELAY OTHER THAN TO GET ALL OCCUPANTS OUT OF THE HOUSE. It is good practice to have your garden hose attached to the outside faucet and readily available. An alcohol fire can be extinguished with water if the alcohol is sufficiently diluted. However the heat release is so rapid that except for very small fires you will need trained help in handling the situation. Don't delay in evacuating the house and calling the Fire Department; then do the best you can in controlling the situation.



Distillation can be interesting and it can be reasonably safe, but don't spoil it through stupid operation or plain carelessness. Though you may be a brave soul with lots of luck, don't expose yourself and other people to serious injury OR yourself to liability for serious property damages. Remember, if am accident occurs, you are the cause and the one legally responsible.

(12) ONE SPECIAL WORD OF CAUTION FOR THOSE USING IMMERSION HEATERS. These heaters must be completely immersed in liquid. If they are not, they will overheat and be destroyed. If this happens while a flammable mixture of alcohol vapor and air is in the top portion of the still, an explosion will occur. Such an explosion would be extremely dangerous both from the standpoint of flying parts of the still and a very rapid spread of fire.

Note: At the end of this text you will find a Safety Check list provided for your safety. Post this where you will see it constantly when " running a batch" - it may save your life and your home.

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Well, here we are at last! It has been a long grind, but we made it, so let's get down to business. As pointed out previously, we will discuss only the basic sugar-water ferment which has proved itself reliable and gives optimum results time after time.

Keep in mind that it is only possible to produce a certain percent of alcohol, 9% to 16% by volume, depending on what type of yeast you use (at the right temperature), regardless of "pat" additions such as molasses, corn sugar, corn meal, wheat, large quantities of juices, etc., therefore, the "basic" ferment saves money.


(1) Ten pounds refined sugar (always 2 lbs. per gallon) dissolved in lukewarm (80 degrees F) RAW WATER. Do not use tap water as this contains chlorine, which is highly corrosive to your still.

(2) One cup of Baker's or Brewer's yeast; by using a large amount of yeast at the start (one cup per 5 gallon mix) it is not necessary to start a culture of sugar-water-yeast and later add this mixture to the batch.

(3) One teaspoon of ammonium phosphate-dibasic, or as explained previously, or a close substitute such as Calgon. The addition of this chemical booster will shorten the time the batch works.

Fire Extinguisher Fermenter(4) After the above items have been put into the mash container, fill the: container to the 5 gallon mark. The best method of eliminating unwanted oxygen after the reaction has started is to stopper the container with a cork and lead a hose or tube from the container to a can or bottle filled with water. This allows the carbon dioxide gas to bubble off through the water, thereby preventing oxygen from entering the container; otherwise, if the ferment stands too long without an adequate "check valve," a vinegar process could start turning the mix sour.

(5) Temperature control of the ferment is very important. Keep your batch within the 75-85 degrees F range and never over 90 degrees F, as this will kill the poor little yeast cells so busily. making your booze for you. During cold -weather put a blanket over your containers, and use a light bulb to provide the heat.

(6) Up to now, if the steps have been faithfully followed, your mix will stop working in about 6 to 9 days. Although' the ferment might stop working in this time estimate, it takes several days more for the batch to settle. Use 14 days as a rule of thumb.

The best practice is to keep two or three batches in the various working stages so that you can allow the ferment to clear up or settle before running. The reason the mix stops working is that the higher the percentage of alcohol in your batch, the more yeast cells die until the alcoholic content is so high that all yeast cells die and your mix stops working. (Baker's yeast yields around 9 to 10% alcohol; wine or Brewer's yeast, on the other hand, yields 14 to 16% because they have a greater tolerance for alcohol. Therefore, a cup of Baker's yeast (dry) for each 10 lbs. of refined sugar is about the right concentration of yeast for our purpose. We are also reasonably sure that the distilled product from a sugar-water-yeast-chemical booster ferment will contain only ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide, and distilled water at the end of a four-run process as described in this article and will not have any of the hangover producing by-products.


We have come pretty far, now all we have to do is to get the alcohol out of our mash by one of the systems previously described. Inasmuch as we will deal with the subject at length and, because of the ease of operation of the reflux still, we will deal with it very briefly. The `portable or miniature stills operate on the same principles but will be dealt with individually.

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FIRST RUN - RUN TO 207 °F. (95°C)
This section is based on a one burner heat source; if you can use two burners, your time will be considerably shorter. Depending on the alcohol and water proportions, as well as the temperature of the mix before heating, the run should start in about one hour between 170 degrees F and 190 degrees F. Approximately two hours later when 207 degrees F is reached, you will have a good working stock of about one or one and one-fifth gallons: But, if your ferment temperatures were too high, you might be unlucky and get only one-half gallon! Your first run distillate should amount to about 40% ethyl alcohol and 60% water and by-products. Disconnect the kettle; pour out the residue. Be careful while pouring out the hot residue, as splashes might cause you to drop the container, resulting in painful burns. A good way to empty a large still is to use a piece of garden hose as a siphon. Put one end in the liquid and fill the hose by turning on the water faucet. As soon as all the air is removed, disconnect the hose from the faucet and let the liquid siphon down the drain. At this point it is a good idea to rinse out the tubing so that any lurking "solids" are flushed away.

We might also add that sometimes one gets anxious and runs before his mix stops working (fourteen days). The green or unsettled batch bubbles inside the pot. Consequently, if there's not enough space above the level of the liquid in the kettle, solids will come over and cause the condensate to turn milky in the receiver. This is also caused by running "full blast" or, in other words, there is too much heat applied to the pot. If this should be the case, keep on running at a reduced heat, and when you finish, be sure to rinse out the entire apparatus thoroughly before starting the second run. Incidentally, unless you have had lots of experience, it is not a good idea to run at "full blast" for the entire run. Most of us use the high heat only to cut down the heating period of the batch.

SECOND RUN - RUN TO 204 °F (93°C)
Pour your first run into the kettle as is, DO NOT add water. Set up the apparatus again and turn on the heat. CAUTION: NEVER TURN ON THE FLAME UNTIL THE KETTLE IS BUTTONED UP. This time results come faster; at about 160 degrees F - 180 degrees F it starts, and in about one hour the 204 degrees F mark is reached. If you are lucky, you should have about 3/4 gallon of about 70% ethyl alcohol and the remainder, water and by-products. Once again, pour out the waste, and if you wish, rinse out the tubing. We now have a pretty good stock, but yeast taste and other byproduct traces are definitely there, although in very small proportions. At this point remember, 70% alcohol is 140 proof and has a flash point of 70 degrees F. You now have a very flammable product.

THIRD RUN - RUN TO 184 °F. (85°C)
This is the run that counts. The first two runs served to get us a good working stock; now we start to refine it. Pour in your second run without adding water, button up the apparatus, and turn on the heat. Stand by to watch your thermometer. At about 150 degrees F - 160 degrees F the needle or column really moves fast to the 170 degrees - 172 degrees F mark. This jump is normal; don't let it worry you. Throw away whatever comes off, before 170 degrees F (or that which comes off before the trickle steadies into a solid stream), and save the rest up to 184 degrees F. Time for the third run is about 3/4 hours, and the distillate will amount to about ½ gallon, which will be around 82% to 87% ethyl alcohol and the remainder water and very ,very small traces of by products. Some stop here and call it quits. The elapsed time from start to this point is about 4 3/4 hours.

Now we are in the home stretch. Pour in your third run without adding water, button up, and turn on the heat. As before, the needle will jump to the 170 degrees F - 172 degree F mark. Throw away whatever comes off before 170 F degrees- 172 degrees F and keep the rest up to 180 degrees F. This time the run will last only about 1/2 hour and will amount to about 1/2 gallon, consisting of 90% to 95% ethyl alcohol and the remainder of distilled water. We are betting our first drink on the fact that the byproducts will be negligible. Now you have an excellent base for any type liquor you care to concoct. After cutback, you should now have about 7/8 to 1-1/5 gallons of the finest raw whiskey this side of California. Here's a thought; don't worry if your ferment didn't start running at the temperature we have indicated; it is rare that two batches are :exactly alike in alcoholic - content; therefore, there will be differences in initial boiling temperatures. These temperatures are approximate. It is very difficult to run exactly according to the prescribed degrees because:
(a) Your thermometer might be off. (b) Percentages of alcohol versus water may vary considerably even though you have followed correct-instructions.
(c) Altitude and barometric pressure affect the boiling point of all liquids.
Generally with an increase in altitude, there is a decrease in pressure so that alcoholic vapors will boil at lower temperatures. As a rough rule of thumb, decrease the above temperatures by 3 degrees per thousand feet of altitude above Mean Sea Level. If after your fourth run a somewhat "yeasty" flavor remains, run your batch through activated charcoal (which can be purchased at your local pet shop) and then through a glass paper filter. If activated charcoal is in short supply, regular charcoal will do and an old T shirt or several layers of cheesecloth will suffice

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There is little difference between the two systems excepting the time factor and the more efficient operation of the reflux still. If your still is efficiently designed, only one run is necessary, though most people run it through twice, particularly if any yeast flavor is present.
Siphon your mash into the kettle, being careful not to get the yeast residue from the bottle into the still. Seat the reflux column on the still head, and make sure all your disconnects are tight. Cover the machined joint with two thicknesses of masking tape to prevent possible leakage. This is a safety precaution, although the machined fitting will expand with the heat and prevent seepage of itself.
Heat control in the reflux system is much more accurate because of controlled water flow through the reflux condenser and you can accurately set your temperature either by water flow, or through reduction of heat. Keep your temperature between the range of 172 degrees F and 176 degrees F for optimum results. One run should be sufficient to produce between 184 and 190 US proof booze, but if your still is inefficient or too much condensation has occurred, your run will be much lower and you may have to run it again.
If it is necessary to do so, empty your still by the siphon method described in the "pot" still section and refill it with the distillate you gained from the first run. To remedy the "flooding" of the reflux column, cut down on the rate of the water flow into your reflux condenser, but remember to run at the same temperature. (172 - 176 degrees F.)
If a third run is required, you better give up on your reflux and have it converted into a simple "pot still" or remove the reflux condenser and use only the reflux column. In other words, your reflux just ain't worth a damn.

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While this system is less efficient than the preceding systems, it has the advantages of simplicity of operation and greater safety. It is recommended that although an acceptable product is obtained in one run, you run it through a second time to improve the alcoholic yield.
Arrange your still mechanism on a table or a stove, and connect your water hoses and drain lines; at this point, it is a good safety policy to run water into the still and connect your heating element; then run this temperature up to 212 degrees F to check for leakage in the system. After this has been performed, disconnect your heating element and allow the still to cool.
During this period you can prepare your mash container and insert your siphon hose, down to the bottom of the container, attached to a stick to prevent siphoning of the yeast residue. Remember, the container must be located above the level of the bottom of the tube in order to get a siphon action. Open the flow valve and suck on it until you get a continuous flow of mash; then shut off the flow valve and connect it to the mash line of the still. Place a receiver for the condensate from the alcohol drain line and another for the anti-siphon drain line.
Open the flow valve and fill the still until you get an overflow out of the anti-siphon line. Shut off the flow valve. Turn on the water for condenser line and connect the heating element; wait until an initial rise in temperature is noted, then begin adjustment of the flow rate. Normal overflow is a slow drip out of the anti-siphon line.
Run the still temperature at 195 degrees F, making sure the condenser line is cool halfway up. It will take four to six hours running time for five gallons of mash dependent on line voltage and alcoholic content of the mash. The yield should be about 3 1/2 quarts of 100 proof from five gallons of mash and in some cases has run as high as 4 1/2 quarts.
Running at a lower temperature (193 degrees F) will yield less booze, but it will come off at about 115 proof and be a slightly better product. Additionally, running time will be less. It has not been established at this writing, but operating at 175 degrees F should give you the same results as the reflux system, an overall better product.
If a "green" mash (less than 14 days old) is used, a bubble may break the siphon. This is indicated by a lack of overflow from the drain line, an initial rise in temperature followed by a drop in temperature, no output and overheating of the heating element.
This situation may also occur if any bubble breaks the siphon, which emphasizes the point that you must never leave a still unattended. If you leave it unattended in this fashion, the heating element will melt, destroying your still. This, too, has been established by practical experience in the field.
Additionally, if you keep the overflow from the anti-siphon drain line and then pour it back into your mash container, you will get a greater yield from your mash-no sense in wasting good booze, which would go down the drain otherwise.
In this method we deviate from the others in that we do not locate the alcohol drain at the bottom of the receiver as we did in the regular system, because if we did we would build up too much back pressure in the still and break the siphon; however, in this instance, it is best to make certain that the receiver is located in a wash basin or tub to prevent spillage of the alcoholic vapors and subsequent fire or explosion.
If your first run is not adequate by this method, a second or third run is in order because although it is more dangerous, you will end up with a better product for consumption which, of course, is our aim.

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Now that we have our raw booze, we want to cut it back to a drinkable content -whichever you consider desirable, 86, 90, or 100 proof. To do this requires a thermometer and a hydrometer (water meter). Remember, all US proof alcohol is measured at a temperature of 60 degrees F. If you cut it at a higher temperature, your indicated alcoholic content will be higher than is actually the case. Conversely, at temperatures below 60 degrees F the alcoholic content will indicate lower but will be higher in actuality.

You might recall from "The Properties and Uses of Alcohol," that when alcohol is mixed with water. heat is evolved, and a contraction in volume takes place. Thus, if a volume of 200 proof alcohol were mixed with an equal volume of water, the result would not be 100 proof but something less than 100 proof. You must be very careful in adding water to gain your desired proof, though "volume for volume" is a good rule of thumb if you like your booze less than 100 proof. If you like it at 100, be a little more cautious and add a bit at a time.

The purists use distilled water to cut the raw alcohol, although ordinary tap water, unless it is very hard, is adequate and may even add a desirable flavor. Of course, distilled water is easily made by filling your still with tap water and running it at a temperature in excess of 212 degrees F. The result - distilled water in your receiver.

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Keeping a clean still is only common sense and is greatly simplified if your cleaning begins immediately after the last run while the metal is warm. Use water to wash out all parts and keep the kettle well scrubbed. Do not use soap, as it might impart a disagreeable taste to your product. It is necessary to supplement the plain water rinse by establishing the following cleaning practice at least once a month. Dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in about 16 ounces of vinegar. Pour this solution back and forth through the tubing several times; then rinse thoroughly with water.

This procedure is all that is necessary for the pot stills, but the reflux types need special attention to the cleaning of the reflux chamber and the marbles, helices, etc.

After each batch one should backwash the columns, and after four or five batches the column packing should be removed and cleaned thoroughly with hot soapy water, vinegarsalt rinse, and clean water rinse.

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It was supposed for a long time that by aging the straight whiskey in a charred barrel, a change took place which ridded the liquor of fusel oils and thus destroyed the unpleasant taste and odor. It now appears, by chemical analysis, that this is untrue. The effect of aging is only to dissipate the odor and modify the raw, unpleasant flavor leaving the fusel oils in the whiskey. At the same time some of the secondary products are changed to acids and esters so that in matured whiskey many of the secondary components are actually present in a higher content than in green liquor. The esters increase in matured whiskey while the fusel oils remain practically unchanged. The whiskey changes proof in wooden barrels since water diffuses more rapidly through the pores of the wood than does the alcohol. Apparently it is not true that aging in charred wood gets rid of the undesirable by-products, but some of us still like the taste of the esters because that's what gives the "whiskey taste" to our stateside liquor. Since the majority of us are familiar with this flavor, we will describe a quick. easy method of getting 20-year old whiskey in 45 minutes.

Using. your finished 90-proof stock, fill a two quart refrigerator bottle almost full and put it in a pot with a cooking rack in the bottom; fill the pot about one half full of water and set it on the stove to boil. In the meantime, bake about six or eight oak chips in the oven for 17 minutes at 500 degrees F or until brown, not black. Put these chips in the bottle and screw the top on loosely or cover with aluminum foil with several small holes punched in the top. Keep the pot boiling slowly. In a short while the alcohol will start boiling, and the liquor will turn a beautiful amber color. Incidentally, it is always a good rule to strain or filter your stock before drinking - usually two thicknesses of lintless cloth is sufficient.

It must be pointed out that this method is dangerous as alcoholic vapors are released above the stove flame; additionally. if the cap is fastened too tightly the pressure may build un inside the container and cause an explosion. creating a number of sharp projectiles and a sudden release of flammable vapors.

Another method of aging to get a smoother flavor, which is considerably safer, is to freeze the cut alcohol. This has not been established by chemical analysis but proponents of this method say that this ages the liquor by one year per freeze. So? It's worth a try!

It is apparent from the foregoing that the American public has been bamboozled for a number of years into believing that aged whiskey was better whiskey and that different processes to produce Bourbon, Scotch, etc., were the best. Whiskey normally sold in the United States is two-run (by the "pot" -still method), which gives it its characteristic flavor, as it carries over from the product from which it was produced (usually grain, i.e., corn, wheat, barley) the undesirable by-products. It is because of these byproducts that you get a hangover, and those of us who have tried both can attest to the veracity of this.

The booze produced by the method contained in this booklet is the best booze you have ever drunk, and it won't be long before you discover that you look on a bottle of Haig & Haig Pinch Bottle, Jack Daniels, or Jamison's Irish Whiskey as inferior products compared to what you produce. Oh, there is one other consideration too, you're not paying $9.00 a fifth for it, either! In the States after paying Federal taxes, a fifth of good booze will cost you somewhere in the neighborhood of 95 cents if you make it yourself.

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Probably the best places to procure your necessities for homemade booze are your local hardware and grocery stores. The majority of supermarkets carry an extensive line of artificial flavorings, running from brandy to vanilla, which you will find very helpful; additionally, food colors can be obtained from the same source.

For some more sophisticated booze making, P. Fioretti & Company have available an extensive listing of flavorings, thermometers, barrels, oak chips, hydrometers, thermometers and chemical elements which will aid in the process. The address of this company and a representative list of products are included in subsequent pages. As an additional aid you may write to them for recipes when you are having trouble with a particular attempted reproduction.

In order to have a still made requires the services of either a well skilled machinist, welder, or plumber, and to get it made to your specifications might cost you a bit of money, but in the long "run" you will be saving money.

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Once you have obtained the basic product (ethyl alcohol), you are on your way to make a variety of liquors. In the normal process, that is, commercial, only one of two runs are used to insure that the flavor of the substance from which it was made is carried over. We know now that although these flavor-producing products give our various liquors their distinctive taste, they also carry with them the seeds of a potential hangover - something all of us despise.

We have now produced a fine, clear alcohol free of the great proportion of the by-products which produce a hangover, but unfortunately, it has little flavor. To accomplish the addition of flavor and to gain the color that we have associated as characteristic of good booze, we merely reverse the process with one notable exception. We do not add ingredients which will produce a hangover but only harmless substances which will give us color and flavor.

This process might strike some as being somewhat dishonest and deceitful, particularly after you have convinced a self-styled connoisseur of liquors that he has been drinking the "real stuff" from the States. Don't feel too ashamed (though you will be secretly pleased) because to a great extent this is exactly what commercial distillers have been doing for a number of years.

No two- batches of alcohol will come out with exactly the same taste, color or strength and in modern times you must have a consistent product in order to market it. To accomplish this distillers add what they call "neutral grain spirits" to bring their product up to advertised strength. Neutral grain spirits are simply alcohols made from grain which has no flavor; legally, the maximum "neutral grain spirits" which can be added to unbonded bourbon is 50 percent.

Flavor, too, varies from batch to batch and this is particularly true of Scotch. In order to compensate for this lack distillers add flavoring, such as those listed in the next section to insure a duplicate flavor in their product.

Lastly, color which has an emotional response is added to insure that each bottle of "so and so" whiskey is exactly the same color. The usual method employed is the addition of caramel, prune juice or tannic acid (tea) to produce the characteristic honey-gold color.

If commercial distillers do it, why not you? Particularly when you have a much better product to consume. The recipes listed in this book are practical and proven, though many of them make an involved process out of what is essentially a simple one. (See different Cointreau recipes.) With a little imagination and a lot of experimentation, you will discover how to make any liquor you desire. To simplify your quest, it is recommended that you write to P. Fioretti & Company for regular recipes, which they will be glad to provide. If you are lazy or afraid of going through all the legalities necessary you may use commercial vodka as a substitute for the alcohol contained in the following recipes.

One item of major importance, which is overlooked in many of these recipes, is that certain liquors have certain proofs and that these proofs are as much a part of the taste as all the flavorings you add.

Keep the following in mind:

(a) All brandies are 84 proof (booze from any fruit).
(b) All liquors are 60 proof or less. (c) Gin is normally 86 proof.
(d) Scotch is normally 78 to 84 proof.
(e) Vodka is normally 110 to 120 proof (in the U.S. 86-100 proof).
(f) Smooth whiskey blends are normally 86 proof.
(g) Bourbon is usually 90 to 100 proof.

You will discover that the making of various liquors is an interesting and rewarding hobby and extremely practical. You will become cognizant of this when you are watching your uninitiated friends guzzling gallons of your excellent hootch and wondering how in the hell you manage to afford such a luxurious collection of booze.

Listed are some examples of recipes. We do not heartily endorse these, but they approximate the "real stuff." Experiment until you find the one which you feel most nearly meets the standards of the "real stuff" - without the hangover. Good luck!

Pour about a quart of 180 proof into a wide mouth 1 gallon jar. Take a nicely colored orange, tie a string around it, and suspend it about 1/4 inch above the liquid level. Put the top on tightly. Let it stand for fourteen days. During this time the alcohol will cause the oils in the orange skin to drip into the alcohol and turn it light yellow. On the fourteenth day prepare a sugar solution of 12 ounces in 16 ounces of water. Boil this solution very slowly until the syrup is smooth and will pour without splashing. Pour your raw alcohol into a large mixing bowl, and pour the hot sugar syrup over it, stirring slowly all the time. Pour the finished product into your bottle.

Mix 1 quart of 150 proof with a simple sugar solution (3 cups sugar and 2 cups water). Add the peels of 2 oranges and a little pulp, 1/2 lemon peel and a little pulp. Shake well and allow to set for 1 week. Shake again. At end of second week strain the liquor into bottle.

Mix 2 cups sugar with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of Karo Syrup. Boil for 10 minutes. Cool, then add 2/3 of a quart 100 proof and 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of peppermint flavoring to taste. To, make it green, merely add green food dye.

Mix 1 pint of simple syrup, 1 pint of 180 proof, 25 drops of Scotch essence and 4 ounces of Karo Syrup. Bring to a boil. Cool and let set for a week and drain.

Add 1 pound of dry apples to 2 quarts of 100 proof alcohol. Let stand 2 days and strain.

Add 1 1/2 ounces of imitation Anise flavoring to 1/2 gallon of 84 proof alcohol. Drink will turn milky white when water is added-just like the "real stuff

Add 1 pint of chocolate syrup to 1 pint of Karo Syrup and 1 quart of 120 proof. Add 1 1/2 to 2 cups thick black coffee and stir thoroughly. Add 1 ounce (or two to taste) of vanilla extr

Mix 1 pound of drip coffee with 1 1/4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and simmer slowly for 40 minutes. Strain through cheesecloth. This will make about 1 cup of concentrate. Mix 3 pounds of sugar with 1 quart of water. Boil for 5 minutes and add coffee concentrate. Cool and add 1 to 1 1/4 quarts of 100 proof plus 2 ounces of vanilla extract.

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 86, 90- or 100 proof as you desire. Add 4 to 6 drops of Bourbon flavoring or more to taste. To color, brown 1 cup sugar over medium heat until it turns to caramel. Then add to bourbon in small pieces until desired color is reached. (The alcohol will dissolve the caramel in a short time.)

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 78 to 84 proof. Add 4 to 6 drops of Scotch flavoring or more to taste. To color, add 1 1/2 to 2 cups of very strong tea until desired color is reached. To get that peculiar reddish gold color, add 3 to 4 drops of iodine.

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 84 proof. Add 4 to 6 drops of Cognac flavoring or more to taste. Use caramel recipe (see Bourbon) to color.

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 86 proof or as you desire. Add 4 to 6 drops of Rye flavoring. Color by either caramel recipe (see Bourbon) or tea recipe.

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 100 proof or as desired. Add 4 to 6 drops Rum flavoring for White Rum; for Dark Rum, add prune juice.

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 100 proof. or as desired. Add 3 to 4 drops Scotch flavoring and 2 to 3 drops Bourbon flavoring. Color as with Bourbon or Scotch, or use prune juice to get a darker color.

Cut 1 qt. raw alcohol to 86 proof. Add 1 to 3 drops of Gin flavoring, but taste after each drop, as the flavoring is extremely powerful. Of all the liquors Gin is the most difficult to make because of the potency of the flavoring, unless you make it in large batches.

Pour 100 proof alcohol into Vodka bottle.

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Even though you have now acquired the information required to produce good liquor, you will discover that you begin to get an insatiable desire to make other familiar libations to which you are normally accustomed. This becomes particularly evident at meal times when you want the cool brew you like to have with those fried shrimp or the hearty tangy red wine with a luscious steak. This, too, can be remedied, though not with the same success you enjoyed with your liquor. The best you can do is a good approximation of the "real stuff."

Wines and beers, as you recall from the historical section, were well known thousands of years ago because they were so easy to produce. Essentially, they represent nothing more than the basic ferment we use to make booze. However, instead of a basic sugar water mix we use other products because this time we are after the essential flavor and the alcohol produced is only an incidental, but important, by-product.

When making wine it is important that you use raisins or real grapes, if possible, so that you get wine yeast. You might recall that wine yeast lives longer in alcohol than does the Baker's yeast, so you get a higher alcoholic yield. Wines, in the United States are defined as fermented fruits which have at least 12% alcohol by volume, i.e., 24 proof. Fortified wines, such as Port and Sherry, have as high as 21 % by volume, but this is added artificially.

It might be of interest to know that if you make wine, that just before the wine stops working, if you siphon off the wine and leave the yeast residue, you can take the yeast residue and place it in the refrigerator. If this is done when you are making your regular mash for liquor, instead of using Baker's yeast, use the wine yeast. This should give you a greater alcoholic return from your mash, perhaps 50% more yield than normal because of the greater tolerance of wine yeast to alcohol.

Listed below are several representative recipes for wines and beer, which should make life more enjoyable for you at meal times or when watching a football game on TV.

3 large cans grape juice
3 large cans water-76 to 84 deg. F 4 pounds sugar
2 pounds raisins Few grains yeast
Mix the above ingredients, and let it work for 14 days, making sure that you cork your bottle and have an outlet in a glass of water to allow the C02 out and oxygen in. After 2 weeks siphon off, strain through cheesecloth, or let stand in bottles for a few days and siphon off again after sediment has settled.
(Note: All wines must be securely corked and tilted on their side so that the liquid covers the cork, otherwise, air will enter and sour your wine.)
4 gallons water 1 package yeast
Grind figs and raisins. Boil water and pour over fruit. Let cool. Dissolve yeast and mix. Stir daily for 14 days. Strain and siphon as required.

2 pounds raisins
2 pounds rice 2 pounds sugar
5 quarts of water 1 tablespoon yeast
Heat water to 84 degrees, dissolve sugar, cool and add yeast. Let set for 3 days. Stir once each day for 7 days. Let stand for additional 3 to 5 days. Siphon and bottle.

1 large can of apple juice
1/4 pound of raisins
2 tablespoons brown sugar Few grains yeast
Mix all ingredients, excepting yeast in 1/2-gallon jar. Add warm water and yeast. Let work for 14 days and siphon off. Taste is similar to Sauterne.

1 large can of apple juice 3/4 pounds of honey
Few grains yeast
Mix all ingredients excepting yeast in 1/2 gallon jar. Add warm water and yeast, and shake well. Let set for 14 days to work. Siphon off. Taste is similar to Pinot Blanc.

10 pounds sugar
6 pounds black figs
2 pounds seeded raisins

6 pounds rice
6 pounds raisins
6 pounds sugar
4 gallons water
Put rice and raisins through a grinder and place with sugar in a crock. Add dissolved yeasts and water. Stir twice daily while fermenting. Let stand and strain or siphon as required.

1 large can grape juice
1 1/2 pounds sugar
Few grains yeast 1 handful raisins
Mix ingredients in 1/2-gallon jar. Add warm water and yeast. Let work 14 days. Siphon and bottle.

4 pounds raisins
2 cups sugar 2 cups rice
3 gallons water
Mix ingredients in crock and cover with water. Let work for 10 to 11 days; siphon off. Mix with 7 parts gin for martinis.

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We have already discovered in the preceding sections that there are many common misconceptions concerning booze which have remained alive due to ignorance on the part of the public, compounded actively and passively by the commercial distillers. The same mistaken ideas a-e held concerning the legality of homemade "white lightning." Most people believe that as long as you make liquor only for home consumption, you are violating no laws and that you only break the law when you attempt to offer it for sale.

This is an erroneous conception. The only alcoholic beverage which you can legally make at home for your own consumption, is 200 gallons of wine per annum. You cannot make any other alcoholic beverage without the U. S. Government's express permit - yes, not even beer.

Before we go any further, we must go back historically to show you why this condition exists today, for we know you feel, (particularly you States' Rightists), that this is an infringement on your personal freedom. It might be added that we fought a great Civil War on this issue, and one of the root incidents occurred regarding the distillation of whiskey and it was accurately described as the Whiskey Rebellion.

In 1791 the United States consisted of a loose confederation of states, each jealous of their individual prerogatives. The authority of the Federal Government was practically non-existent and unless something was done to establish the authority of Congress over individual states, the federation was headed for dissolution.

Alexander Hamilton, the brilliant and extremely young Secretary of the Treasury, recognized this lack of federal authority and, as inferred by his own letters, his object in proposing the excise tax on whiskey of 1791 was less to obtain revenue than to provoke a local resistance, which would enable the Federal Government to demonstrate the strength of the central government over the states.

The tax was not enforced until 1794 as the government did not have sufficient power to do so until that time; general objections were urged against the measure, particularly by Albert Gallatin. In western Pennsylvania, then one of the largest whiskey distilling areas, the inhabitants considered the tax an unfair discrimination against their particular region, an infringement of states' rights and of personal rights. They felt so strongly on this matter that they raised an insurrection against the Federal Government.

The situation was in danger of toppling the government and became so critical that the then President Washington found it necessary to call out an army of militia to subdue the rebels who dispersed without bloodshed. Several of the leaders were convicted as traitors but were eventually granted pardon.

Thus Alexander Hamilton established the precedent of the central government to enforce federal laws within the states. As a result, the majority of the farmers migrated to Kentucky, which was not under federal control at that time, and passed on the tradition of whiskey-making which has made Kentucky famous as a producer of fine bourbon. Additionally they passed on a virulent tradition of individual and state freedom which, despite the Civil War, remains to this day. Moonshining is almost exclusively a tradition within the South Central States; so you see that Alexander Hamilton, though the only U. S. Treasurer to ever balance the American budget, never really won the Whiskey Rebellion.

You are probably saying this is all very interesting, but when in the hell are you going to tell me whether or not I can legally make homemade booze? Your answer-you can, with certain qualifications. The basic qualification is that Uncle Sam wants you to pay tax on the liquor you produce and wants to make sure that none of what you produce remains untaxed.

To accomplish this noble end, a fat and lengthy dictum, called the United States Code, Title 26, Chapter 40, Sections 5001 through 5687, titled "Internal Revenue Code," has been written and become law. Unfortunately, the laws were written for commercial distillers as they had been the chief violators of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) when liquor was illegal. The laws are devised to cover every loophole you can possibly imagine in the production of alcohol on a commercial basis, but nothing is said about the poor guy who wants to make booze for himself. Before we start reading between the lines of the Federal Law, it is necessary to state that if alcohol is illegal in the state in which you are residing, you cannot make alcohol under the Federal Law. This time it's states' rights in reverse from the previous situation.

We shall begin by stating some of the impositions and definitions cited by the code and then translate these into every day language and, eventually, end up with the requirements you must meet in order to make booze at home.

To quote the U.S. Code, Section 5001, "There is hereby imposed on all distilled spirits produced or imported into the United States, an internal revenue tax at the rate of $9.00 on each proof gallon (proof gallon being 190 U.S. Proof) or wine gallon when below proof and a proportionate tax at a like rate on all fractional parts of such proof or wine gallon."

The tax shall attach to distilled spirits as soon as the substance is in existence as such; the term "distilled spirits", "alcoholic spirits", and "spirits" mean that substance known as ethyl alcohol, ethanol, or "spirits of wine."

Well, they've got us pretty well sewed up on that one, haven't they? This is certainly the stuff we are trying to make. So we'll pay the tax; however, there are a few other items which merit some consideration.

Now, obviously, one of the first things we need to make booze is a still, and presumably we have to get it made and move it to where we want to use it. They thought of this, too.

Section 5105 states, "Any person who manufactures any still, boiler or other vessel to be used for the purpose of distilling shall, before the same is removed from the place of manufacture, notify the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate, setting forth in writing by whom it is to be used, its capacity and the time when the same is to be removed from the place of manufacture; and no such still, boiler, or other vessel shall be set up without the permit in writing to the Secretary for that purpose The notice required by this section may be submitted in such form and manner as the Secretary may by regulations prescribe. Every manufacturer of stills shall pay a special tax of $55.00 a year and $22.00 for each still condenser for distilling made by him. Any person who manufactures a still or condenser to be used in distilling shall be deemed a manufacturer of stills."

Well, supposing we do make our own stills, they got us again this time for at least 77 bucks. Lets go along with that - we're willing to pay the tax on the booze per gallon and also on the still. Now, let's damned thing running! Wait a we've got another little jewel here.

Section 5171 says, "Every person required to file application for registration whose distilling is not required under the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (49 Stat. 978, 27,203, 204) (and yours ain't) shall obtain a permit to engage in such operations." Okay, but can we get a permit? According to the US law cited above, "the following shall be entitled to a basic permit. Any person unless convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving liquor law violation. Permit shall continue in effect until suspended or revoked." Well, we can get a permit anyway, so let's say we have it, can we start making booze? No, we have a few other items we have to sort out first.

According to Section 5179, '` person having in his possession or custody, or under his control a still or distilling apparatus shall register such still or apparatus with the Secretary immediately on its being set up, by subscribing and filing with the Secretary, in writing, setting forth the particular place where such still or distilling apparatus is set up, the kind of still and its capacity, the owner thereof, his place of residence and the purpose for which said still has beer: or is intended to be used for distillation of distilled spirits." Somehow or other they missed your birth certificate in there, but let's try and register, this little ole 5-gallon "pot" still so we don't upset the entire economic structure of the United States.

First of all, we have to apply, and Section 5172 says, "This application for registration shall identify the applicant, show the nature, location and extent, of the premises, show the specific type or types of operation to be conducted on such premises and show any other information required for the purpose of carrying out the above provisions.."' That "other" information probably means the birth certificate missed in the preceding section.

Section 5171 continues, ". . . and (shall) receive notice of the registration of his plant. No plant shall be registered under this section until the applicant has complied with the requirements of law and regulation in relation to the qualification of such business.

Now that doesn't sound too bad does it? Surely we can meet these qualifications. Let's see what they are. We won't enunciate all of the qualifications, as they are too lengthy, but only the principal ones such as Section 517 8, -which states, "No distilled spirits plant -for the production of distilled spirits shall he located in any dwelling house, or on board any vessel or boat-" So, we'll locate it in the back forty; that ain't so bad.

Still another little qualification is Section 5173, which says, "Every person intending to commence or to continue the business of a distiller when filing for an application for registration of his plant, and before commencing or continuing such business, shall file a bond on the form prescribed, conditioned that he shall faithfully comply with all the provisions of law and regulations relating to the duties and business of a distiller, and shall pay all penalties incurred as fines imposed on him for violation of any said provisions (and) shall give bond in a penal sum not less than the amount of tax on spirits that will be produced in his distillery during a period of 15 days, except that such bond shall be in a sum not less than $5,000 nor more than $100,000."

With the exception of a few other odd things like, ". . . shall place and keep conspicuously on the outside of his place of business a sign showing the name of the person and the business in which engaged," or keeping records of the amount you produce and consume, plus having an Internal Revenue Agent assigned to you on a permanent basis, you can see making booze in the States is a perfectly legal and simple matter. Now we can understand why moonshiners moonshine; they just don't like the red tape.

Let's review what we have to do in order to run our still in the States and see if it looks as hard as it sounds, but let's do it in a negative sense as a legal offense against the government:

  1. Failure to register still. $1,000, 1 year or both.
  2. Failure to file an application for registration. $10,000, 5 years or both.
  3. Filing a fraudulent application. $10,000, S years or both.
  4. Failure to give bond. $1,000, 1 year or both.
  5. Distills on prohibited premises, i.e. in dwelling house or in any shed, yard or inclosure connected with such dwelling house. $1,000, 1 year or both.
  6. Failure to pay tax on any of the above. $10,000, 5 years or both.
  7. Failure to keep records or falsification of records. $10,000, S years or both.
  8. Attempts to defraud the U.S. Government by any means of chargeable tax. $10,000, S years or both.
  9. Failure to post a sign. $1,000, 1 year or both.

That is the negative side, and those little $1,000, 1 year and $10,000 and 5 years and "or boths" list the penalties for violating any one of these requirements. The penalties for violation of this code are listed in Section 5615, and about the worst one in the lot is for an unregistered still, which is sort of getting at the root of the matter by having a severe penalty, "Every still not registered shall be forfeited, together with all personal property in the possession or custody or under the control of the person required to register the still and found in the building or in any yard or inclosure connected with the building in which such still is set up."

If you are determined to make booze at home, you must go through the above paper work and contact your local Internal Revenue Agent for details as to forms, exceptions, etc. Still, even after all this it is going to cost you considerably less per bottle than commercial liquor and, don't forget, you make the best liquor in the world. It should be worth it. Luck.

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The Blue Flame

The Aramco guide to producing sidiqi



The Blue Flame

The Aramco guide to producing sidiqi