Brew and Bottle Your Own Alcohol: Making Beer, Wine, and Liquor
Making homemade beer, wine, liqueurs, or even infused liquor is within the skillset of anyone who can read a recipe and follow basic directions. The way each type of alcohol is made differs and requires different techniques and ingredients. However, once a few batches of a certain type are made it's easy to start customizing recipes and creating unique flavor profiles. Once you've perfected your own recipes, these bottles of homemade libations make lovely hostess or home warming gifts.
Making wine at home is easy, and most beginners are capable of making very good wine from the get-go. Wine is basically fermented fruit juice. Grape is the fruit used most often to make wine, but other fruits (and even flowers like elderflower) are also used. The juice is fermented in a clean container with its own pulp along with water and sugar. Yeast is then introduced to the bottle. It's not the same yeast used by bakers. Instead, it's a special wine yeast that doesn't live an aftertaste. Not all wine recipes require yeast, but most do. Now the wine needs to age. This process ranges from a couple of weeks up to a year!
Making beer at home requires a decent amount of supplies to get started. Luckily, there are many brewing kits that come with bottles available for purchase that make the process easier. Beer is also a fermented drink made from the sugars in grains instead of fruit. These sugars are referred to as malt extract. Beer also depends on brewer's yeast, which eats the sugar from the grains and produces alcohol. Homebrewing can be really complicated or quite simple. The beer will need to ferment for at least a week after brewing it, depending on the type of beer being made.
Homemade liqueurs are the easiest type of alcohol to make and bottle at home. They make great gifts and can even replace commercially produced liqueurs commonly used in mixing cocktails. Basically, making a liqueur requires mixing an already prepared alcohol (like vodka or brandy) with sugar or simple syrup and flavoring. The mixture needs to sit for a while before being strained into a clean bottle. Liqueurs are around 40 to 60 proof. Most liqueurs require the use of a simple syrup because sugar doesn't dissolve well in cold or room temperature liquids. There aren't many supplies required. Clean bottles and cheesecloth are the main requirements. Making flavored liqueurs at home means it is possible to create flavors not commonly found at your local liquor stores.
Homemade Infused Liquor
It's illegal in many states to distill liquor at home. That means most people can't legally make moonshine or their own whiskey. However, it's legal and easy to personalize store-bought liquor. Infusing liquor is very simple. Add flavoring ingredients to the alcohol and let it sit for a period of time. Vodka is a popular choice as a base alcohol. After it's done seeping, strain the liquid into a clean bottle. It's possible to infuse alcohol with an endless variety of flavors. Coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, and apple are popular choices. However, bacon-infused liquor is also an option! In fact, just about any foodstuff can be used as an infusing agent.