Classic whiskey differs from moonshine only by two things: raw materials (grains instead of sugar) and long-term aging in barrels. Otherwise, these drinks are very similar. There are quite a few methods of making whiskey from moonshine. Following them will allow making whiskey which is very hard to distinguish from a real product.
Warning! The resulting drink will only imitate real whiskey since it’s made following another method and without any grains. Additionally, we also won’t age it in oak barrels.
In order to hit as close to the original as possible I recommend making whiskey from wheat moonshine, but in case you don’t have it sugar moonshine will do. Before aging you should clarify your moonshine, otherwise, fusel oils will bring all efforts to naught. The best option is running double distillation. As a last resort, you can perform coal cleaning.
Whiskey has yellow color with light brown shade thanks to prolonged aging in oak barrels (for at least 2 years). But such aging process is too long and inconvenient at home. That’s why we will infuse our moonshine with oak extract, which is much faster and cheaper.
1st Method. Imitating the flavor and smell of whiskey. The simplest method, which takes the least time.
- Moonshine (45%) – 3 liters
- Oak bark – 3 tbsp
- Charcoal – 50 grams
- Dried apricots (prunes) – 6-8 fruits
Oak bark can be purchased in a pharmacy. Charcoal can be obtained by burning birch, fruit trees or oak wood. The exact type of woods used is not that important.
- Bring moonshine’s ABV to 45%. It’s necessary to do this in the very beginning as diluting the prepared homemade whiskey will noticeably deteriorate its taste.
- Mill the charcoal till it’s dust-like.
- Put oak bark (before that pour it over with boiling water for 10 minutes, pour off the decoction, and then pour it over with cold water for 15 minutes and strain off), charcoal and dried apricots in a jar. Add 1.5 liters of moonshine and stir. Add the remaining moonshine. There should be no free space left in the jar, so you should fill it to the brim.
- Close the jar tightly with a lid and leave it in a cold place for at least 10-14 days for aging.
- When the taste will be to your liking, strain the obtained whiskey through a cotton-cheesecloth filter in order to get rid of the oak bark and charcoal.
2nd Method. Imitating aging in oak barrels. This method is slightly more complex but the result is more authentic. You’ll need oak pieces and hard moonshine (50-65%). Vodka is not hard enough. Oak boards can be purchased at most hardware stores.
- Saw the oak boards into pieces. They should fit through the neck of the whiskey jar. The optimum length of one piece is 75% of the jar’s height.
- Wrap the oak pieces in foil and grill them in an oven for 3 hours. The temperature depends on the desired effect:
- Light oak aroma – 120°C
- Pronounced flavor – 150°C
- Vanilla flavor – 205°C
- Smoky flavor – 215°C
- Almond flavor – 270°C
Warning! Oak pieces should be fully wrapped in foil with no wood showing or else there will be a lot of smoke.
- Burn the oak blanks with a blowpipe to make them slightly charred along the entire surface.
- Put 2-4 pieces into the jar, pour them over with moonshine and close it tightly with a lid.
- Let it age for 3-4 months in a cold dark place. A more prolonged aging (1 year or longer) enhances the taste of homemade whiskey.
3rd Method. Infusing moonshine with oak chips. This method is almost identical to the previous one but instead of oak pieces, it requires oak bark and chips. Another point of interest—the chips can be steamed in boiling water in order to decrease the amount of tannins.