Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

November 13, 2010


Filed under: Vinting — paragardener @ 2:19 am

From time to time I like to create alcohol from the near-garbage ingredients available at the grocery store. It is really cheap, always available and it feels totally subversive to take bland products like “cran-raspberry juice cocktail concentrate (20% juice)” and make them into something psychoactive and non-regulation. I pretty much drink it at home, since it can require some bravery to brave it.

The recipe for hooch came from Roxanne’s Wine Recipes, where it is called “Hillbilly Wine.”  My version runs thus: Take 2 cans of frozen juice concentrate and 3 cups white sugar. Add water to make up one gallon. Pitch in a packet of bread yeast, snap on yer fermentation lock and wait. Siphon the hooch off of the debris after one week, and again at one month. (Note: bottles must be kept really clean). Cap it and refrigerate. Drink over ice, in small glasses.

Two gallon jugs of hooch, a packet of yeast and a bag of sugar

I prefer disused fertilizer jugs for their shock value. The fertilizer contained fewer toxic impurities than a serving of Michigan walleye. Endocrine disruptors used in manufacturing the plastic bottle probably mean that any babies I father will be intersex.

To further mess up a recent batch, I used “fresh” O.J. and lemon juice purchased from Walgreens. I checked the pH a couple of times using an electronic meter; I figured if it dropped below 3.0, that would probably stop fermentation. Initially, I used the whole carton of orange juice and enough lemon juice to lower the mix to about  pH 3.5

checkin' pH

An acidic brew

The batch tasted like the horrible cheap lemon juice I’d used (the little green bottle). I would have been better served by melting lemonheads into the mix, or using straight-up crystalline citric acid. So, I crammed the jug with as much sugar as would fit and the product mellowed to something not unlike the forgotten jug of orange juice in the back of the fridge.

In Roxanne’s recipe, she claims that wine made with bread yeast will never clear properly. It seems to be true, my wine resembles the O.J. with suspended particles of added calcium, despite siphoning twice. But if I were to use wine yeast, it would ruin the delicate irony of the beverage.

rocks glass with rocks and hooch




  1. Hahaha, too funny. You actually drink it, huh? I hope those fertilizer jugs were well cleaned. The BPA is bad enough … What amazing hidden talents you possess.

    Comment by estraven — November 13, 2010 @ 9:55 am

  2. Curses, Roxanne’s wine list is gone and I can’t even find a cached version.

    Comment by paragardener — April 4, 2013 @ 7:58 pm

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