Vodka is one of the most commonly used ingredient in various cocktails. Because it has relatively low alcohol content, it has been favored more by the women drinkers. However, nowadays, its popularity has skyrocketed in both men and women. Vodka is essentially a liquor composed of water and ethanol, along with traces of flavorings and impurities. It is believed to have originated in Russia, but is also a traditional drink in Scandinavia and East European countries. In recent years, vodka has enjoyed enormous popularity, but not many people know that it can be easily prepared at home as well. Homemade alcoholic drinks are still a novelty and it will surely boost your esteem if you can treat your guests to some homemade vodka. Though the drink can be made from a number of ingredients, to make it at home, potatoes are the best option. In order to know how to make potato vodka at home, read the instructions that follow.
Homemade Potato Vodka Recipe
- Vodka is distilled in a column still, but sometimes a pot still can also be used.Column stills are more sophisticated than pot stills.
- You can purchase a column still, depending on the design you want. You can make one at home as well, using readily available materials.
- Pot stills are similar to pressure cookers, but with attached piping or tubing. They can also be constructed very easily.
Medium To Be Fermented
- Vodka is made from many ingredients, like wheat, rye, barley, corn, and potatoes. These are also enhanced with sugar and molasses.
- The potatoes must be fermented with yeast to produce alcohol.
- The potatoes must also be mashed and mixed with active enzymes, to break down the starches and make fermentable sugars.
- The potatoes are mashed, so that the starch in them is broken down to sugars by the enzymes and converted to alcohol by yeast fermentation.
- The starch degrading enzymes must be at a temperature of 150 deg F. Temperatures higher than this will destroy the enzymes.
- You can also add refined sugar and molasses as an additional fermentable material.
- Add malted whole grains like barley and wheat, as they are rich in natural enzymes.
- You can also buy enzyme powder from any store.
Making The Mash
- Wash and clean 20 pounds of potatoes and boil them in a large kettle, without peeling.
- Boil for about 1 hour, until gelatinized.
- Now, discard the water and mash the potatoes in a food processor.
- Take the mashed potatoes back into the kettle again and mix them with 5 to 6 gallons of tap water.
- Blend thoroughly and heat it, till the temperature is 150 deg F.
- Add two pounds of crushed malted barley or wheat and stir properly.
- Cover the kettle and let it heat for 2 hours, with occasional stirring.
- Leave it overnight to cool, to about 80 deg F. Cooling for a long period gives the barley enzymes more time to break down the starch.
Preparing The Fermentable Medium
- Sterilize the vessels.
- 5 gallon stained mash will require 7.5-gallon food grade bucket. Attach the bucket with lids, but do not seal it completely, as carbon dioxide production can lead to an explosive pressure. Attach an air lock so that the carbon dioxide can be released without letting in the air.
- In case of open vessels, cover them with cheesecloth, which would prevent bugs from entering them.
- Strain the mash with a strainer and take the liquid in a sanitized fermentation vessel.
- The liquid should be splashed and poured from a height, so that it is well aerated. For fermentation, the yeast needs oxygen to grow and start the fermentation process.
Adding The Yeast
- Add the yeast to the liquid and stir it with a sanitized spoon, to distribute the yeast evenly.
- Regulate the temperature so that it stays about 80 deg F. In cold areas, you can use a heating belt.
- The liquid must be allowed to sit for two weeks.
Collecting The Wash
- The fermented alcoholic liquid is called the wash.
- The wash must be siphoned into a distillation apparatus.
- The yeast sediment must be left behind in the fermentation vessel.
Distilling The Wash
- The wash has to be distilled in a still. It will heat the fermented, alcoholic wash to a higher temperature than the boiling point of alcohol. In this way, the alcohol will be separated from water.
- The vaporized alcohol will condense inside a column. This column needs to be cooled, using cold water, which will make the vaporized alcohol turn back to liquid.
- The liquid that is collected will be known as the vodka.
The Distillation Process
- The distillation process will begin by heating the wash in the still. The heat will be provided by gas burners, wood fires, or electric plates.
- The temperature must be kept below the boiling point of water, that is, it should not exceed more than 173 deg F.
- During heating, the alcohol and other substances will vaporize and condense into the cooled chamber of the still.
- The first distillation called the ‘head’ will be the harmful methanol and it must be discarded. Discard about two ounces for five gallons of wash.
- After the first distillation is discarded, the desired alcohol called the ‘head’ can be collected.
- The end of the distillation process, called the ‘tailings’, can be collected or discarded. Discard the last 50 milliliters.
Alcohol Content & Purity
- To check the alcohol content, take a sample of the distillate and cool it to 68 deg F.
- Now use an alcoholmeter to measure the percentage of the alcohol of the distillate.
- The alcohol content must be somewhere between 40% to 50%. However, since vodka is usually diluted before bottling, the distillate can have a higher alcohol content.
- Redistill the distillate more than three times, to further purify and achieve vodka of high purity.
- To attain the desired alcohol strength, add purified water.
- If you want to remove unwanted flavors and aromas, pass the distillate through a carbon filter. You can also use a carbon water filter.
- The bottles must be filled with vodka, using a gravity bottle filler setup.
- After filling, the bottles must be corked.