Whiskey, rum and vodka, like moonshine, are all made from distillation. The distinct flavors and effects that arise from each variant of alcohol come from the original recipes they are distilled from, the specific process of distillation and other processes or additives used after distillation. With a still, craft distillers can try their own homemade whiskey, rum and vodka recipes.
Whiskey is distilled from fermented grains, which may include barley, corn, wheat and other grains. Depending on how it is distilled, it may be as anywhere between 40% to 80% or even 90% abv. The grain recipe determines the type of whiskey made (malt whiskey, bourbon, rye whiskey etc.) and the distillation determines potency. Rum is distilled from molasses, and can also vary between 40% to 80% abv. How rum is aged or addition flavors such as honey determine if rum will be light or dark. Vodka is more versatile, and can be made from materials ranging from potatoes to corn, wheat, rice, sugar beets and more. The original recipe used, flavorings added after distilling, and filtering used during distilling all alter the taste, consistency and potency of vodka types.
Start experimenting with your own spirits and learn more through instructional books or videos. Purchase your pot still from Hillbilly Stills to get started.
This is for 1 gallon recipe Bran Flakes Vodka (scale up for larger wash)
Per Gallon of 14.1% ABV wash
- 4 cups sugar (1000 ml, 2 pounds, 1 kilo)
- 1 cup whole All Bran flakes (250 ml)
- 1/2 teaspoon boiled yeast component
- 1/2 teaspoon 20-20-20 fertilizer Miricale grow.(substitute 1/4 teaspoon epsom salt if afraid of fertilizer)
- 2 tablespoons yeast (Fleischmann’s dry active yeast works fine up to 14.1% with this recipe)
- Invert sugar with an equal volume of water for 30 minutes
- Simmer cereal with double the volume of water for 30 minutes
- Mix the invert sugar, cereal, and boiled yeast component
- Top off fermenter and allow wash to cool to 95F
- Pitch yeast and 20-20-20 and aerate for 1 minute (additional aeration optional)
- This process yields a fully fermented and cleared wash within 72 hours at 78F/26C
- The wash can be pot stilled for flavor or refluxed for clean neutral spirit
- Not using 20-20-20 or boiled yeast will increase lag time and extend fermentation time
- Full krausen within 15 minutes is not uncommon
- %ABV options by volume (Cups per Gallon) are: 4C/G = 14.1%, 3.5C/G = 12.3%, 3C/G = 10.6%
- Adding more cereal will potentially impart more flavor (experiment with more or less)