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DIY Gadgets Reviews

Turn Juice into Alcohol in 48 Hours

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If making alcohol had been this easy during prohibition, homemade hooch would have been everywhere.  A few weeks ago, I began playing with a product called Spike Your Juice, which was advertised as a way to turn juice into alcohol in 48 hours.  It works like this: pick a juice with at least 20g of sugar per serving, add a packet of their specially-designed yeast, plug the bottle with an airlock, and wait 48 hours.  Just like the fermentation process used in winemaking, the juice’s natural sugar is converted into ethanol, with a byproduct of carbon dioxide.  The result is an alcoholic drink with a champagne-like effervescent fizz.

I bought a box of these magic bacteria and started experimenting.  The instructions recommend using filtered juices that don’t require refrigeration and aren’t artificially sweetened. But, I’m bad at following instructions, and I don’t trust a juice that doesn’t require refrigeration.  I grabbed a bottle of Pink Lemonade, Mango, Blackberry and Sweet Tea from Trader Joe’s.  The pink lemonade worked well – after 48 hours, it was quite fizzy, though I couldn’t really taste the alcohol.  The Sweet Tea fizzed a bit, but also didn’t taste “spiked” – it just tasted awful.  The Mango juice (which wasn’t fully filtered) formed big solid clumps during fermentation.  I’m not sure why, exactly, but they were gross so I filtered them out with cheesecloth before drinking.  Again, some fizz, no buzz. 

The Blackberry juice was the winner by far.  It also developed some solids (even though it was very clear juice to begin with), and you’d never mistake it for wine, but it was delicious.  Think blackberry Lambic, but with an adjusted price of $1.75 per bottle (64oz of juice at $3, $1.50 per packet of yeast, 25oz in a wine bottle).  This is something I’d make again, and certainly something I’d serve to dinner guests or corruptible children. 

The instructions state that you can allow the fermentation to continue longer than 48 hours to achieve up to 14% ABV.  It also recommends using Welch’s or Ocean Spray – I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree there.  To me, the best part of this product is that you’re free to choose great starting ingredients, like a locally-produced cider, or raspberry juice from plants in your back yard.  But for the fun of quick, easy DIY booze, I’ll raise my glass to this product!

Spike Your Juice – $9.99 (or $20 for a 2-pack on Amazon)

21 comments on “Turn Juice into Alcohol in 48 Hours”

@seattlefoodgeek Mindy just bought a few boxes of that stuff. I had all the ingredients in the pantry…not happy.

@seattlefoodgeek I have three different types of yeast in my house right now. 2 of them work perfectly. The right temp. for ferm. is key.

@seattlefoodgeek I want a curing box that can also proof dough. Temperature and humidity control. Only things I can find are $1,000+

@seattlefoodgeek @ericriveracooks Also check out sites that show hydroponic setups for weed. Seriously, they got that stuff nailed down.

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Thank you BDG DUDE for pointing out that yeast is not bacteria. If you really want to make hooch just get a pouch of champagne yeast for about $0.50 and have fun. FYI Tang doesn’t ferment, which is probably a good thing.

The reason the recipe would call for non-refigerated juices, is that they don’t have preservatives added because they are preserved by the UHT (ultra-heat treatment) method. Once they are opened they still require refrigeration just like a normal juice. Check the ingredient list on the bottle. I would imagine that commercially-added preservatives would be about as healthy for fermentation organisms as they are for other organisms like us 🙂
I don’t buy bottled juice often, but if I do it is always the non-refrigerated kind, as I don’t like the idea of preservatives.

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