Date moonshine is favored for its light smoky flavor with a fruity accent. Taking into account the expenses, overdue or unconditional raw materials are usually used. Even moldy dates can are fine—high-temperature cooking will take care of any fungus. However, it’s important that you remove rotten fruits which tincture bitterness.
Theory. 50-66% sugar content. This means that 2.2 lbs/1 kilo of raw material is enough to make 0.75 liters of 40% ABV moonshine. To increase the yield you can use beet sugar; 2.2 lbs/1 kilo is enough to cook 1.2 liters of 40% ABV distillate, but the quality of the beverage is quite lower—the date aroma is not as flavorful. If you have enough raw material, I recommend cooking date moonshine without sugar.
Baker’s or distillers yeast allow for 4-9-day brew cooking but these strains deteriorate beverage’s aroma. Thus, if you have time to spare you should use homemade raisin or fruit ferment. Store-bought wine yeast will do fine, too. Fermenting will last 30-50 days, but using such yeast will greatly improve organoleptic properties of distillate.
What’s special about the technology of cooking date wash is that first, you need to dissolve fructose which is contained in the fruit pulp in water. In order to do this, you’ll have to cook compote and then cool it down and add yeast.
- Dates – 6.6 lbs/3 kilos
- Water – 18 liters and additional 4 liters per each 2.2 lbs/kilo of sugar
- Sugar – 1.1-4.4 lbs/0.5-2 kilos (optional)
- Baker’s yeast (o.7 oz/20 grams of dry yeast or 3.5 oz/100 grams of pressed yeast) or wine yeast for 20 liters of mash
- Citric acid – 0.3 oz/10 grams
- Citric acid allows for required degree of acidity which promotes fermentation
Date Wash Recipe
- If necessary, 3-5 days before working with raw materials you should prepare a raisin or berry ferment.
- Remove pits from the dates, trying to keep as much pulp as possible. It’s a time-taking process, but there’s no way around it. The pits significantly deteriorate the taste of date moonshine you’ll notice an unpleasant aftertaste.
- Put the pulp in a cooking pot, add sugar (optional) and water at the rate of 4 liters per 1 kilo of raw materials (and sugar). Mix it.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, simmer with a lid open for 25-30 minutes and occasionally stir, so that the date pulp does not stick to the bottom and get burnt.
- Remove the pan from the stove. Add the remaining water (2 liters per 2.2 lbs/1 kilo of dates) and citric acid. Stir the mixture up.
- After the mash has cooled to 25-28°C add yeast or diluted yeast following the instructions on the label.
- Pour the date wash to a fermentation vessel. Install a water seal or attach a medical glove with a hole in one of the fingers to a bottleneck (pierce it with a needle).
Using a medical glove instead of airlock (Homemade airlock)
- Transfer the container to a dark room with a temperature of 18-28°C. Depending on the yeast used, sugar content, and temperature, fermentation of the date wash can last 4-55 days. You’ll find out that the process has stopped by the absence of bubbles in the water seal (or if the glove has deflated) and the presence of sediment at the bottom. The wash should be bitterish and not sweet.
How to Prepare Date Moonshine
- Pour the wash into the wash still after having it filtered through several layers of gauze and squeezing the pulp well. Otherwise, the pulp can burn and spoil the distillate.
- Distill the wash for the first time at maximum speed without separating into fractions. Finish the distillation when ABV goes below 30%.
- Measure ABV of the distillate. Calculate the volume of pure alcohol: ABV percentage times volume in liters and divided by 100.
- Dilute the moonshine with water up to 18-20%. Run the second distillation. Gather separately the first 10-15% of the pure alcohol calculated at the previous step. This part is called “heads.” It’s a harmful fraction that can be used only for technical purposes.
- Gather the middle run (“hearts”) until ABV goes below 45%. After that finish the distillation process and gather separately the last fraction called “tails.”
- Dilute the obtained date moonshine with water to get the required ABV (usually about 40-45%), bottle it for storing and hermetically seal it. Before tasting it leave the distillate for at least 2-3 days to let the taste stabilize.