Grain alcohol, also known as moonshine, Everclear or poteen, is a fiery beverage that packs a punch. Unlike some liquor, grain alcohol embraces its roughly edged flavors to provide its enthusiasts with one of the purest, strongest forms of alcohol.
What is Grain Alcohol?
Natural grain alcohol is a form of pure alcohol produced by fermenting and distilling grain. It”s far stronger than other alcoholic beverages, such as beer, vodka and whiskey because the grain is allowed to reach a high ethanol content before being distilled.
Everclear grain alcohol is one of the more popular brands available. Although drinking Everclear or any pure grain alcohol straight is inadvisable, due to its potency, some mixed drinks may require a touch of moonshine. While most alcohol is 80 proof, grain alcohol weighs in at a staggering 190 proof, nearly two-and-a-half times stronger.
Moonshine and the Founding Fathers
For better or worse, the history of moonshine is enveloped in the history of America. Trying to find a way to replenish the country”s funds after the Revolutionary War, the federal government decided to tax the alcohol trade, its first step in a long history of meddling in affairs of the liver.
Early moonshiners were originally farmers who survived bad years by turning their corn into profitable whisky. To them, paying the tax meant they wouldn”t be able to feed their families. Federal agents were attacked when they came around to collect the tax, and several were tarred and feathered.
In 1794, several hundred angry citizens took over the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. President George Washington called for a gathering of militiamen under federal authority. About 13,000 troops dispersed the mob and captured its leaders. This Whiskey Rebellion was the first major test of federal authority for the young government.
While the rebellion failed, moonshining lived on. When prohibition went into effect in 1920, sub-rosa purveyors of grain alcohol were in their glory. Since prohibition”s repeal in 1933, the making of illegal moonshine has largely petered out.
Irish Eyes are Smiling
Banned from export between 1661 and 1997, poteen is Irish liquor classified as moonshine. It runs about 180 proof and is made in a copper kettle. If running down to the store for a six-pack doesn”t satisfy your alcohol ambitions, why not make your own?
How to Make Moonshine
If you”re interested in how to make grain alcohol at home, here”s an easy recipe to start with:
Homemade Moonshine Recipe
- 7 lbs. baker”s yeast
- 42 lbs. brown sugar.
- 4 lbs. of treacle (is a thick, dark syrup produced during raw sugarcane refining)
- 1 lb. hops.
- Steep ingredients in 3 gallons of lukewarm water at the bottom of a 40-gallon barrel. Fill barrel to three-quarters full with cold spring water and leave in a cool place to settle.
- After several weeks, transfer to your still. Heat the pot gently until it comes to a boil. Put on the lid and seal and clamp securely. Make certain the worm is fully covered in cold water. Running water is best, if available.
- The first bit made will be cloudy. Discard this and wait until the product is clear, then enjoy.
You can purchase moonshine stills at discounted prices through many sites online. If you lack the patience or space to make moonshine on your own, buy it in stores and use it to mix some pretty potent concoctions. Here are a couple of recipes you can try out:
- 10 bottles grain alcohol
- 4-5 packages fruit punch mix (dry)
- lots of fruit (sliced)
- 3 bags of ice
This recipe makes enough for a large party. The key here is to eat the fruit. Avoid bananas, which are too mushy.
- 2 bottles of a citrus flavored soda
- 2 bottles of clear, lemon-lime soda
- 2 qt. orange juice
- 4 scoops Tropical Punch Kool-Aid mix
- 1 bag of ice
- 1 bottle grain alcohol (Everclear).
In general, grain alcohol mixes best with fresh fruits and juices, so feel free to experiment on your own. But be aware that the juice”s purpose is to disguise the alcohol; you may be drinking more than you think. That said, bottoms up!