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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting your Shine on

Last night and this afternoon I made Grandma's Apple Pie. Now, before you think this is just another pie recipe, think again...this apple pie you drink!

Essentially this is moonshine, but it's NOT illegal. It's made with Vodka. "Proper" moonshine is neutral grain alcohol. Vodka is neutral grain alcohol. So, moonshine is pretty much homemade Vodka. There are recipes all over the net for this stuff and they're all pretty much the same.

The ingredients are:

1 gallon apple cider
1 gallon apple juice
3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
7 stick cinnamon
3 750ml (1/5th) bottles 151 proof (75.5% alcohol) vodka
If you really want to be more authentic, you can throw in some cloves as well, I don't.
12 quart jars with lids

There's a lot of people that insist you use 190 proof (95%) alcohol called Everclear. Unfortunately or fortunately, it is not available in a lot of States because of it's alcohol content, so it needs to be mail ordered, making it cost prohibitive. I can get 151 vodka in my local supermarket and have found it's a perfectly good substitute.

First things first. You'll need the biggest pot you can find. I actually have a big pasta pot that I use for everything but cooking pasta and it just holds everything.

Put your pot on the largest burner on your stove. Put in your brown sugar, apple cider, apple juice and cinnamon sticks. (Cloves as well, if you're using them) Bring this concoction to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once it comes to the boil (that could take a 1/2 hour or more) turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

Cooling it off is critical! If you add the booze while it's hot, you'll just burn it off and that would be a waste!

I let mine cool over night. In fact, when I went into the kitchen this morning about 6, the pot was still warm to the touch...mind you, I took it off the heat around 7 last night! When I made it in the winter, I put the pot out in the snow and it took about 6 hours to cool down enough.

Once it's cooled right down, remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves if you've used them. Get your empty juice containers, a funnel and some cheese cloth. Fold the cheese cloth over itself enough times so that you can sit it in the funnel and drape it over the sides. I fold mine in half three times and have it work well. Now you want to filter your "juice" as it will have "bits" in it. Sometimes a cinnamon stick will disintegrate and you want to get that out. I use a 2 cup jug to decant (for want of a better word) the "juice" from the pot into the funnel with the cheese cloth in it.

Wash out your pot and put the alcohol in it. Then add the "juice". This is easier and having to stir it because you put the "juice" in first.

Now all you have to do is decant the mixture into your quart jars and put them somewhere cool. In the winter I just have it in the garage and in the summer it goes in the basement. Throw a jar in the fridge and you're all set. But be careful, it tastes too good and it WILL sneak up on you.

With the quantities I make, the alcohol ends up coming in at 17% alcohol because of the dilution. I have made it with 2 bottles of 151 and that came in at 12% alcohol...I prefer mine with just a bit more spark.  



1 comment:

  1. You'd probably enjoy this recipe too, Matt!