What is an easy way to make homemade vodka or whiskey?

I have a restaurant full of ingredients but no equipment to make it. How can I make vodka or whiskey in an easy way? How about moonshine? We are looking for experiment with different things so any help or advice is greatly appreciated. thanks for the help!

As a homebrewer of beer, I feel compelled to note that the home/otherwise unlicensed production of hard liquor is illegal in the United States. As a result, this thread will almost certainly be closed shortly. Sorry.

Yep. Moonshine (as pure as liquor can be in liquid form) is illegal to possess and sell as far as I know, as well as being illegal to make. Any other hard alcohol is just illegal to make in your home, but feel free to run out to the store and buy some as long as you’re of the appropriate legal age.

Hard liquor = distilled soft liquor (beer, wine, etc.). Distillation works because alcohol boils at a much lower temperature (70C) than water (100C). Can’t be sure what distilled beer will taste like, though, as some impurities will get through.

I’ve seen the process of making moonshine up close from start-to-finish.

Legally, you can make a mash in a big ol’ covered tub full of rye flour, sugar, and water. (And a bit of yeast, of course.) I doubt that anyone would want to drink the undistilled product, though. Ugh.

Operating a still without a license is illegal, and with good reason. It can be dangerous to leave a pilot-light sized flame burning for hours when you’re producing extremely volatile fluids – especially when those volatile fluids tend to make you sloppy and careless.

Lary the reason that stills are illegal have nothing to do with the safety reasons you cite. They are illegal so the government can tax liquor. And also perhaps left over prohibitionist type moral legislation.

(Without distilling it). What you do: buy grain alcohol (it is 190 proof ethyl alcohol, sold under the brand name “EVERCLEAR”). You simpluy dilute this with water (filtered or bottled water) to get the desired strength-most vodkas are90-100 proof (45-50% alcohol). If you want to make whiskey, you must adds some flavoring…this can be done in two ways:
-buy a flavorant substance
-or, store the everclear in s charred oak cask, for 12-120 months. You will then have a pretty acceptable whiskey.
Does it make sense to make your own? probably not…everclear is quite expensive. Of course, you can buy ethyl alcohol in bulk from a chemical company…but the minimum order is probaly several hundred gallons.

To add to the previous post, if you wanted to purchase pure ethyl alcohol, you’d have to be careful to buy the food-grade version, which is pricey. (I was just reading about the possibility of using ethyl alcohol as a means to clean/sanitize beer-brewing gear in the latest issue of Brew Your Own magazine, and they pointed that out.) There are also companies which sell high-quality flavorings for making liqueurs by simply mixing them with vodka or other purchased alcohol. I believe that some are designed to taste like certain brands/types of hard liquor, besides the expected fruit and other flavors.

I also have to agree with gazpacho’s assessment - to the best of my knowledge, I thought that was the major reason for preventing the distillation of hard alcohol. I know that homebrewers are - last I read on the subject - limited to 100 gallons per year for a single person, 200 for a married couple even if only one is the brewer. Anything more than that and you should technically be looking into a license of some kind.

Legal disclaimers: I’m not a lawyer, this is not legal advice or even necessarily correct, I am not encouraging the breaking of US law and/or ATF regulations, I am way too much of a slacker to come near to breaking my limit for homebrewing beer.

I wrote: " know that homebrewers are - last I read on the subject - limited to 100 gallons per year for a single person, 200 for a married couple even if only one is the brewer."

Make that “homebrewers of beer”. Sorry, I’m too used to referring to those who homebrew beer as simply “homebrewers” and didn’t think about the possibility for confusion in this case.

Before this thread is closed, could someone tell me what is “moonshine”?

moonshine = everclear = a solution around 95% ethanol.

Buying everclear and diluting it into vodka doesn’t sound like a good idea as the prices are comparable. Vodka (here) is $9 for a 1.75. Everclear is about $26 for a 1.75L. So you’d be better off just buying vodka. Im sure the OP wants to make a gallon of vodka for $4.

I don’t know how to make whiskey, but there are alot of sites on-line and books showing how to make a makeshift distillery for making everclear.

You can probably make wine pretty easily too, and this doesn’t involve fire. just put some water, yeast, sugar and fruit juice in a container with a vent and let it fester for a couple of weeks.

Wine is legal to make at home, similar to the strictures placed on the homebrewing of beer.

To further clarify the definition of “moonshine”, it nearly always refers to the alcohol being produced in illegal stills. I suspect that any legally-produced alcohol of that percentage wouldn’t have that name printed on the label, except perhaps as a marketing ploy.


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Losts of related information, too.


Sorry, moonshine is a separate and distinctive product of clandestine illegal stills operated for the most part in remote and secluded areas of Appalachia.

You will absolutely not have anything like whiskey, you will have vaguely oak flavored alcohol.

DIY blended alcohols is a prectly acceptable route and you can actually make some pretty yummy stuff. IF you plan to sell it you will still have to deal with some alchoholic beverage control agency, you are still manufacturing distilled spirits for most intents and purposes.

Everclear is 90% alcohol (180 proof.) Moonshine is more like 99+ percent alcohol. They are also made from different ingredients if I’m not mistaken. I believe moonshine is usually made from corn. I could be mistaken about that but I know a lot of the old hillbillies I knew growing up that drank it all the time called it corn liquor.

Many homebrew stores sell devices that are only legal to distill water and other non-tax items, but if you are willing to take this device offshore, into international waters there is no authority telling you that you couldn’t distill vodka or whiskey.

The device is the same, but the use is what is regulated.

Since distilling alcohol without a license is illegal in the US, I’ll close this thread.

moderator GQ