If you’re in search of a new hobby, look no further than distilling alcohol. It combines two of our favorite pastimes at INTO THE AM — making things and sipping on cocktails. New and seasoned alcohol distillers nationwide have taken up this activity as more than a hobby, some even changing careers to distill alcohol full time.
While we’re not suggesting you quit your day job (but…you do you), distilling alcohol is a great way to have fun and learn more about how alcohol is made. Plus, you’ll save money by making alcohol in your own home.
We’ve teamed up with expert distiller Jesse, from the "Still It" YouTube Channel. Jesse is a brewmaster, creator, and all-time awesome person who knows how raw ingredients, chemistry, and passion can be a powerful combo. To support this collab, we’ve designed a Graphic Tee for men that is spirit-forward, super comfortable, and extra stylish, meet Lunar Spirits.
For Jesse and other alcohol distillers, distilling spirits and making alcohol is way more than a hobby. It’s a passion that helps you learn more about how distillation works and your own skills. Whether you’re just starting to dabble in distillation or you’re a seasoned pro, here are some tips to celebrate Jesse and all alcohol distillers on how to make alcohol at home.
1. Always go with quality ingredients.
It’s a no-brainer — quality ingredients breed quality products. Despite how obvious this might be, many newbie alcohol distillers forget this tried and true aspect of distilling alcohol.
At first, you might opt for cheaper ingredients as you figure out what you’re doing. But once you have the basics down, invest in quality ingredients to make your final product taste light years better. And if you’re planning on marketing your product, this is a great selling point to create loyalty with your brand.
2. Develop your sense of smell.
Before distilling alcohol, your sense of smell may have helped you cook, find your favorite cologne, or determine when to do laundry. Now, you need to put that sense of smell to another important task — making alcohol.
Take the time to smell your ingredients, including any botanicals and spices you might use. The more you stop to smell the figurative (and possibly) literal roses, the more you’ll enjoy the process — and the better your final product will be.
3. Taste your product at every stage.
Speaking of senses, you’ll need to put your taste buds to work while distilling alcohol, too. Instead of using your sense of taste to indulge in your favorite burger or wings (though you can do that, too), try to notice the nuanced tastes of alcohol as you distill your spirits.
From bitterness to sweetness to freshness, identifying various tastes can take a long time. Be patient, though. Keep tasting your alcohol at every stage to identify how it evolves during distillation and what you can do differently for the next batch.
4. Make friends with the experts.
They say power is in numbers. We’d like to add to that — passion comes in numbers, too.
Find others who are passionate and knowledgeable about distilling spirits. Not only can they provide you with great information and tips, but you can also swap ingredients and share final products to get useful feedback. Whether you find an online social forum or a local group of distillers, connecting with others will keep your distilling game strong.
5. Have fun with it.
As with all passions, don’t let it become burdensome or a chore. Try different flavors, distill with a friend, and, of course, always be sure to enjoy your final product. Distilling alcohol can be loads of fun, and the more you develop your skills, the better your alcohol will be. In the meantime, enjoy the process (and the extra alcohol).