Saturday, January 16, 2010

Get drunk for free... or almost

I read on a blog that alcohol is a waste of money, that its expensive and doesn't give you nutrition, etc.
They're right about the nutrition factor. But alcohol doesn't have to be expensive.

My father is a do-it-yourself-nik. You shoulda seen his brewery in the basement. He made beer, wine, sake, mead, and lots of other delicious alcohols. Most of that stuff took fancy equipment and expensive ingredients to make. So I don't make that suff.

My dad taught me how to make cheap cheap alcohol and I figured that I'd share this homemade brew recipe for those people who enjoy a nice drink every now and then buy don't want to spend money on it.

Take an empty glass bottle. Make some lemonade out of the juice from fresh lemons (preferably, but you can also make this with bottled lemon juice) and sugar. Add an extra cup of sugar to the mix. You want it sickeningly sweet. (Don't worry, it won't taste so sweet when finished.)
Add about a teaspoon of yeast to the lemonade. You can use wine yeast for this, but I'm a cheapo and use my usual bakers' yeast that I have for bread-making purposes.

Cover the bottle with a bit of plastic- either from plastic wrap or a plastic bag- and secure it onto the bottle with a rubber band. You don't want it to be too tight; you just want to make sure the plastic doesn't fall off.
Place this bottle in a moderately warm place for two weeks. After 2 weeks, taste test to see if it tastes alcoholic. If it doesn't taste alcoholic enough but isn't sweet, add some more sugar and let it ferment some more. (The yeast eats the sugar and makes alcohol, so in order to make it more alcoholic you need more sugar.)
If it is alcoholic enough, pour yourself a glass and enjoy your home brewed hard lemonade.


  1. Sounds cool! I just might have to try this next time I have lemons in the house.

  2. I read your making yogurt post and you say you can use some of the yogurt from the previous batch to add the necessary good bacteria to the new batch. I'm wondering if yeast is similar in that if I added some of the previous batch of hard lemon aid to the new batch would it work properly, or do you still need to add fresh yeast since the yeast uses up the sugar?

    1. Hello. I'm a year too late for your reply, but that's ok as the article was 3 years before your post. The answer to your question is "Maybe" If you know what you are doing, keep a sanitary environment and don't use anything to that kills off the yeast, you can get yeast to reactivate. However, while it's possible I wouldn't use the old yeast itself as it can give the next batch horrible off flavors and in worst case could even be hazardous. If the yeast is old, dead or unhealthy it will leech bad tastes and potentially create types of alcohol other than ethanol, all of which are much more poisonous than the one we purposely consume. It is possible to keep a yeast strain alive and healthy for a long time, but that's probably better left to professionals. For an easy attempt, what you do is take a bit of the booze (unfiltered, and no preservatives except the alcohol itself) and try to reactivate the latent yeast present in the final product. This takes patience and requires a very low sugar starter to try to slowly bring the yeast out of it's slumber, but it can be really useful for brewing wines/beers/meads where you want to use the exact same yeast strain as a previous batch/target match. Obviously if your previous batch as using baker's yeast, this is pretty much useless and more time consuming than needed, baker's yeast is cheap and will make the booze taste funny no matter what you try.

  3. Should I poke a tiny hole in the plastic? Or perhaps remove it for a few seconds every day to let the CO2 out? And, if anybody has tried this, does this recipe work okay?

  4. hey thats a good start, to go on with the idea, less lemon and add a little sliced fresh ginger. after the two weeks, when it has a good alcohol content, filter and put a little more sugar, put into two liter pepsi bottles and then into your frig, check the bottles, they could explode, never happened to me but is possible, in a few days you have a nice carbonated ginger beer, caution open slowly

  5. What percentage does this make?


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