This is called prison wine because it is made from easy to get materials from your kitchen. In India, it is popular amongst ladies who live in orthodox joint families where visit to a wine store or even sight of an empty wine bottles is a taboo. It is also popular (and illegal) in Gujarat, Bihar and dry states because it is easy to make and gives an instant kick. College students and fermentation newbies (of legal drinking age) are always amazed by the transformative power of yeast and its ability to save them huge money on spirits and can make cocktails at home fast & economically.
Beware even though alcohol content is 15-18%, it is supposed to be sweet and not dry.
Preparation time: less than 10 minutes
Brewing time 3-4 days
Brewing temperature: I prefer less than 25 degrees, and usually a desert cooler/air conditioned room does the trick.
Equipment (the goal is to improvise rather than spend)
Airlock (or balloon or surgical glove or even condom) essentially you want to vent out the CO2 produced without oxidation problem.
Cheesecloth, mesh, or a fine tea strainer. Otherwise a boiled cotton handkerchief is fine.
A container to hold your wine (the original tetrapack carton works well, and you don’t have to bother sanitizing it as well)
A clingwrap or a stopper to create airtight connection between the lid and the airlock.
1 liter Tetrapack juice (fresh fruit juice works better)
Turbo yeast (5gm is good for a batch of upto 10 liters)
240 gm Sugar, lots and lots of it (essentially as much as you can dissolve)
Step 1: Preparation:
Please check the fruit juice label for “preservative free and in aseptic packing (like opaque tetrapack) If it has preservatives, then it will inhibit microbe growth. Hence you would have to pour it from a height and expose it to air for a couple of hours for preservative to dissipate (usually potassium sorbate and campden to dissipate) However it is better to use a fresh carton of juice rather than using yesterday’s leftover juice as chances of contamination is less.
Dissolve sugar (if you powder the sugar try to break the clumps) essentially you want to saturate the solution with sugar.
You can also add some bruised fruits. Cut them into pieces and crush them.
Add turbo yeast or any wine yeast with a high alcohol tolerance. In prison, they do it with wild yeast, but in dry Indian summers, it is unpredictable.
Step 2: The wait:
Wait for a couple of hours for bubbling to start and then put in your airlock (if you don’t want to buy airlock from Arishtam.com then a balloon, surgical glove or even an unused sterile condom can be used.
If you are using balloon (or a balloon like contraption) then vent out the gasses after every couple of hours. With airlock you don’t have to worry.
After 24 hours you can sip it everytime you vent out the air. This can help you track the progress and be rewarded by a sweet alcohol in return as well.
After 48 hours the bubbling will slow down considerably. After 3 days it almost stops and we move to 3rd step
Step 3: Finishing & serving
As long as it giving the sweet fruity smell and does not taste bitter, it should be fine and drinkable. (try to experiment the taste with your husband or your neighbor, if you are still unsure)
Decant and strain it via your mesh/cloth to remove the sediments
Put it in the chiller or refrigerator. You can also put it in the freezer to create a slush (semi solid half frozen
Pour it in a glass. You can put lime juice & salt on the rim to get the cocktail feeling.
Garnish the glass, if you have made it from different juices, then you can make layered hooch as well. My favorite is Green Khus at the bottom, white banana in the middle and orange at the top.
Alternatively, if you have made it from blackcurrant grapes, pomegranate juice or even beetroot then adding a few thinly cut slices of apple will give the Sangria like feeling.
Tips & closing notes.
In my opinion, although normal table sugar is fine, but powdered sulphurless cane sugar is better.
It is supposed to be drunk fresh, so attempts to age and achieve clarity will be futile.
It preserves all the nutrients of fruits and add a lot of Vitamin B (due to yeast fermentation) So this molasses free cocktail is great healthy, vegan drink that you can add to your next party.