Making moonshine is a sweet hobby-especially if you are making a fruit mash! Check out our top five fruit mash recipes!
One of the best parts of making moonshine is the fact that it is truly a hobby that never gets old. This is because there are so many different ways to make quality spirits at home. Making moonshine never needs to get boring or monotonous. There are always new and innovative ways to improve your craft and create something that is distinctively yours.
The Evolution of Fermented Fruit
While some moonshiners strive to find that perfect whiskey blend, others are seeking something a little bit sweeter. Adding fruit to your moonshine is certainly not a new concept. In fact, it is believed that the concept of using fruit for fermentation came from early man eating rotten fruit on the ground out of necessity. It is believed by many experts that the body evolved to be able to ingest ethanol, which allowed for this option.
Two Ways to Make Fruit-Flavored Moonshine
While rotten fruit does not sound appetizing, fruit-flavored moonshine certainly is. There are two different ways to get the sweet flavor of ripe fruit into your homemade spirits. The easiest way is to make moonshine and then infuse it with fruit. This is usually done by placing fruit into a jar with moonshine for a number of days or weeks and then straining out the solids before serving.
The second way is arguably much harder, yet yields wonderful results. This method uses fruit as the base of your mash. Instead of adding flavors after your moonshine is made, you are creating your moonshine out of your fruit. This can also be done by creating moonshine out of fruit juice or cider, in the case of Applejack.
Approach a Local Farmer
Are you ready to take your moonshining to the next level by making a mash out of fruit? The best time to make this kind of mash is when the fruit of choice is just about out of season. Approaching a local farmer and getting a large amount of overripe or imperfect fruit of their hands for a good price is a cost-saving opportunity. Many moonshiners like to pay their local farmers in whiskey!
Equipment Required for Making Moonshine
Large pot: most moonshine recipes are for 5-gallon stills and require large pots. We love The Bayou Classic 44 Quart Stainless Steel pot because it has an inner basket that is perfect for lining with a cheesecloth to remove solids from your mash.
Long Spoon: Most household spoons are not long enough to use in the large pots required for moonshine. We love HIC Brands that Cook 97050 15-Inch Helen Chen's Asian Kitchen Bamboo Kitchen Spoon.
Siphon: Using a simple Siphon is a great way to transfer liquid from your pot to your fermenter.
Cooking thermometer: Temperature is arguably one of the most important factors in making moonshine. HABOR Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer is an easy to use tool to monitor your temperature and yield great results.
Cheesecloth: A cheesecloth is a great way to strain your mash. It is easily able to be squeezed (with sanitized hands) to get every drop of the liquid out. Our all-in-one kits include cheesecloth, but here is our recommendation if you need to purchase additional cheesecloth.
Fermenter: One of the best parts about our all-in-one kits is that they are a fermenter and still all in one. This means less equipment to buy and store. If you are using our Mist 1 Gallon Air Still, we suggest this Home Brew Ohio glass fermenter with twin bubble airlock. It is clear so you always know what is happening with your mash and is the perfect size to complement our air still.
The Best Stills for Making Moonshine
Making moonshine is a craft rooted in tradition. However, modern equipment can make the process easier than ever. At How to Moonshine, we offer two all-in-one kits that combine a fermenter and a still.
Our Blue Ridge Stovetop Still can easily be used in any kitchen. This means you do not have to purchase a specialty heat source and can distill your spirits in your kitchen. This kit also includes a water pump that can be used in a standard kitchen sink. It really is your all-in-one moonshine solution.
If you are looking for a simple distilling process, check out our Mist 1 Gallon Air Still. This still is as simple to use as a kitchen kettle. You can make smaller recipes with your own kitchen equipment to get the spirits you need in smaller quantities.
The Sweet Taste of Summer All Year Long
One of the biggest appeals of making your moonshine out of fruit is the ability to bottle the sweet tastes of summer to enjoy all year long. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at our top five fruit mash recipes.
Apple Jack Moonshine
Apple Jack Moonshine is arguably the easiest fruit-based moonshine to make. This is because this mash is made from apple juice or cider, rather than actual fruit. In addition to not having to peel and chop pounds of fruit, Apple Jack Moonshine also uses freeze distillation.
What is Freeze Distillation?
Freeze distillation is a process in which instead of using heat to boil and then condense the alcohol in your mash to remove it, the mash is frozen. As the boiling and freezing points of water and alcohol are different, heating or cooling your mash allows them to be separated. Using freeze distillation, you can distill your mash using your freezer. Early shiners would use cold winter nights!
One thing to note with Applejack moonshine is because it uses freeze distillation you are unable to fractionate your yield. This means that there is the possibility you are ingesting methanol. Sip with caution!
While this recipe does not require one of our quality stills, it does require some specialty equipment. While moonshining equipment is similar to what you likely have in your kitchen, it is on a much larger scale.
Applejack Moonshine Recipe
Applejack Moonshine has been called ‘apple pie in a jar’. This classic moonshine recipe is a classic favorite around the world. While this recipe does not require fresh fruit, it is recommended to use high-quality cider.
For this recipe, you will not require a still but you will require a large fermentor. You can still use one of our all-in-one kits, or you can purchase a large fermentor like this one from Home Brew Ohio. However, it does not come with an airlock and is quite expensive. However, it does offer a spigot at the bottom which is a nice feature to have. Also, keep in mind you need a freezer space large enough to fit your fermentation vessel.
To Make this Recipe you will Need:
- 5 gallons of unpasteurized apple cider: It is important to use good quality cider. Apple juice will not produce a quality result and cannot be substituted.
- 5 lbs table or cane sugar-must be granulated
- 1 packet of cider yeast: Cider yeast has been perfectly formulated to work with this type of cider base.
- The first step is to create a simple syrup using one gallon of your cider and your sugar. Heat your cider to 160° F and add your sugar. Stir well until completely dissolved.
- Pour the syrup and the remaining 4 gallons of cider into a sanitized fermentation bucket.
- Cool your mash. You can use an immersion chiller or place your pot in ice water.
- Once the mixture has reached 75° F you can add the cider yeast. Aerate your mash by shaking the container for about 10 seconds.
- Cover with an airtight lid and add your airlock
- Leave your mash to ferment for about 7-14 days or until there is no activity in your airlock for two days.
- Once fermentation is complete you can strain any solids out of your mash. Put the strained liquid into your freezer.
- Once your mash is in your freezer, ice will form at the top of your storage vessel. This is water leaving your mash. Use a sanitized scoop or spoon to remove the ice from the top of the vessel. The longer you let your moonshine distill and the more water you remove, the stronger your moonshine will be.
Peach Moonshine Mash
Does anything say summer like biting into a fresh peace? Bottle that sunshine taste by making your own peach moonshine!
This peach moonshine mash calls for a large number of peaches. Consider approaching a local producer at the end of the season to see if you can get a large amount of overripe fruit for a better price.
Peach Moonshine Mash Ingredients:
- ½ bushel of peaches (about 25 lbs)
- 6 lbs of cane sugar
- 2 packets of bread yeast
- Sanitation is one of the most important steps in moonshining. Wash your peaches well to remove any natural yeasts or pesticides.
- Quarter your peaches and remove the pits.
- Place the peach chunks in your food processor to break down further. Do not fully liquefy.
- Pour your peaches into your large pot
- Heat to 160°F.
- Once your peach mash has hit 160°F, it is time to pour your mash into your fermentation bucket.
- Add four lbs. of sugar and stir well with a spoon until fully dissolved.
- Top up the mash with cold filtered water until the fermenting bucket hits 5.5 gallons.
- Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients in the mash.
- Let your mash cool to 70°F. You can place the fermentation bucket in a sink full of ice water to cool your mash down quicker or use an immersion chiller. Another option is to simply wait a few hours.
- Once your mash reaches 70°F you can add your yeast and aerate the mash by pouring it from one 5 gallon bucket to the other or shaking (with an airtight lid) for 10 seconds.
- Place on the airlock. Put your bucket in a temperate area for about 7-14 days. Your mash is done fermenting when there is no activity in the airlock for 2 days.
Once the fermentation process is complete, it is time to distill. Check out our step by step guide to moonshining to learn more.
This moonshine mash recipe uses frozen berries. Using frozen fruit is a great way to not only save money but also enjoy the fresh taste of seasonal fruit all year round.
For this recipe you will need:
- 6lbs of frozen strawberries
- 5 gallons of filtered water
- 5 lbs. of sugar
- Yeast starter
- Start by pulling your strawberries out of the freezer and allowing them to thaw.
- Pour one gallon of water into a pot and heat to 90°F.
- Once the water is 90°F, pour in all of the sugar and stir until fully dissolved.
- Once the strawberries are thawed mash them into a puree and add the sugar syrup.
- Pour the mix into a fermenter and add the remaining 4 gallons of filtered water.
- Make a yeast starter. If you are unsure of how to make a yeast starter, refer to the video below.
- Once your mash is 70°F, you can add your yeast starter to your mash. Aerate your mash by picking it up and shaking it or passing it between the fermentation bucket and the cooking pot about 10 times.
- Add an airtight lid and an airlock and let ferment for 7-14 days.
- After fermentation, strain your mash and distill as normal.
Blueberry Moonshine Mash
This is a tart twist on the more popular fruit moonshine mash. It makes a very pretty spirit that is great to sip on its own or add to cocktails.
This mash also uses frozen berries which is a great thing since it calls for 20Lbs of fruit! Imagine your grocery bill if you bought that fresh at the grocery store! 20 lbs is a lot of fruit for a simple mash. Feel free to downgrade the amount of fruit but keep the rest of the amount ingredients the same. This should still result in a tasty mash without costing you an arm and a leg.
Ingredients for Blueberry Moonshine Mash
- 20 lbs of frozen blueberries
- 5 lbs white sugar
- 5 gallons of filtered water
- Yeast starter
Directions for Making a Blueberry Mash:
- In a large pot, place the frozen blueberries and 3 gallons of filtered water. Heat to 160°F. Add the sugar slowly stirring to make sure it fully dissolves.
- Remove from heat.
- You can cool down your mash using an immersion chiller or place your pot in ice water.
- Once your mash has cooled to 70°F, you can prepare your yeast starter.
- Transfer your mash into your fermentation vessel and add your yeast starter. Aerate your mash by pouring it between your fermentation bucket and your cooking pot about 10 times or by adding an airtight lid and shaking it for about 10 seconds.
- Add your airlock and ferment for about 7-14 days or until the airlock has no activity for two days.
- Once fermentation is complete, strain and distill as normal.
Potato Vodka Mash
While potatoes are not technically a fruit, there is enough merit in using potatoes to make spirits that we thought it would be beneficial to add this recipe to the list.
One of the benefits of making mash using potatoes is that unlike many of the grain ingredients traditionally found in a mash, potatoes are easy to come by. In addition, buying a large number of potatoes is relatively inexpensive and not that uncommon.
Making spirits out of potatoes is also a recipe that is rooted in tradition, even though most vodka’s no longer include this versatile fruit as a main ingredient.
While fruit recipes are generally made to be full of flavor, vodka is made to be absent of flavor. Instead, you can enjoy this recipe on its own or choose to infuse your vodka with fruit flavors. By making your vodka with potatoes and then infusing your spirit with fruit it will save a lot of money on expensive produce.
Ingredients for Potato Vodka Mash
- 7 Gallons of Water
- 25 Pounds of Potatoes
- 5 Pounds of Crushed Malted Barley
- Yeast starter
Directions for Making Potato Vodka Mash:
- The first step is to fully clean all of your potatoes using a scrub brush to make sure all the dirt is removed.
- Next, cube your potatoes and add to a large pot. Fill with water so the potatoes are completely submerged. Boil until tender (about 20 minutes).
- Do not drain the water. Instead, use an immersion blender (recommended) or mash by hand (ouch) until well blended.
- We recommend using a cheesecloth for this recipe. Add your ingredients to a cheesecloth and then add filtered water until your 7-gallon mash pot is filled.
- Heat the mash stirring constantly until it reaches 140 °F.
- Add the malted barley and stir well to fully combine.
- Maintain a 140 °F temperature for 20 minutes. Stir for approximately 30 seconds every four minutes.
- Increase the temperature to 152 °F for one hour. Stir for approximately 30 seconds every 10 minutes.
- If you have a hydrometer, use it to take a gravity reading. If it is below 1.065, add sugar to reach 1.065
- Cool mash overnight in a cool dark room to fully allow the barley enzymes time to break down the potato starches.
- Once your mash is cool, place in a fermentation pot.
- Prepare a yeast starter. Add to your mash and aerate by pouring your mash between your cooking pot and fermentation jug about 10 times.
- Add an airtight lid and airlock to your fermentation pot and let your mash ferment for about 7-14 days or until there is no activity in the airlock for 2 days.
- Once fermentation is finished, strain well and distill as normal.
For more information on how to clear, distill and fractionate your mash refer to our How to Make Moonshine guide.