Home > Food & Drink > Make Your Own Spirits

Make Your Own Spirits

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 27 Nov 2012 | comments*Discuss
Spirits Alcohol Making Distill

Making your own spirits is a complicated process, but very cheap and even more rewarding. You can make your own ethanol, and dilute it with water and add all manner of ingredients to create a unique flavour.

To make your own spirits, you will need:

  • Fermenter, or bucket
  • Thermometer
  • Yeast
  • Carbon Filter

Making Your Spirits

There are four principle stages involved in making spirits:
  • Sterilisation
  • Fermentation
  • Distillation
  • Filtering


To start with, you must clean and sterilise your equipment. This includes the fermenter, or bucket, airlock, hydrometer and stirrer. Clean your equipment with warm water and detergent, and then rinse it with boiling water. After you have sterilised your fermenter, seal it to prevent it from becoming contaminated.


Part fill your fermenter with cold water then add boiling water. Check the temperature with a good quality thermometer to ensure it is around 40C. Remove some of the water to adjust the volume to 21l. Add 6kg of sugar and stir it well. When it is dissolved, add a sachet (12 - 20g) of strong yeast, sprinkling it over the top of the mixture. If you are using a professional fermenter, fix the lid and airlock and leave it for 24 hours. If you are using a bucket, cover it with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for at least 24 hours.

After 24 hours the mixture should be bubbling and will have become frothy. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon and leave it for a further 24 hours. Fermentation can take between three and seven days.

Fermentation is complete when the yeast has used up all of the sugar. All signs of fermentation should be finished and your hydrometer reading will have a static reading of around 990.


A distillation unit will separate the ethanol from the water mixture. You can make your own distiller or you can buy one from a specialist shop. Once you have distilled your mixture, water the ethanol down with fresh water so it is 50% ethanol.


Filter your mixture to remove mineral salts from the carbon present. Once you have filtered your spirit, add more fresh water to reduce the strength of the alcohol.

Finishing the Spirit

Once you have completed the four basic principles of spirit making, you will have a potent mixture of ethanol and water. To turn this mixture into a palatable drink, you can add various fruits to it to add flavour. You can use all sorts of ingredients, from fruits to boiled sweets.

In some countries, bees and seahorses are added to the ethanol mixture (although this isn’t recommended). Fruits to consider include: blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and sloes. You could also be adventurous and add liquorice root, horseradish, radishes, for a spicy kick or chocolate, to make a sweet syrup. Once you have created a basic ethanol mixture, you can add anything to it to flavour it.

Distilling alcohol is illegal in the UK unless you hold a rectifier's licence (Alcoholic Liquor Duties Act 1979 s18(1).

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Grubbygreenfingers
    Re: Our First Year in the Allotment: A Case Study
    Horticultural Black Plastic sheets can be a great answer for weeds it is also sold as silage sheeting.…
    21 September 2019
  • Charly
    Re: Make Your Own Biodegradable Plant Pots
    I like this piece, however it doesn't make sense to use sellotape when making the pots as that isn't bio degradable.
    21 July 2019
  • Billy
    Re: Building Your Own Cob House
    I am looking to buy a plot of land approx 50 - 100 acres. My desire is to live off the land sustainably. My partner and I would…
    22 June 2019
  • Rob the roller
    Re: What Not to Do in Your Allotment
    Hi Giancarlo I am sorry to hear about your unfortunate condition. There is nothing to prevent you growing mushrooms etc…
    27 November 2018
  • Kate br
    Re: Selling from Your Allotment
    I would recommend. Country markets as local places to sell surplus veg
    9 November 2018
  • JoJo
    Re: Foraging for Mushrooms
    @Amy - Lepiota (Dapperlings) which look like smaller versions of Parasols have an approx 7cm diametre. They can be very poisonous - so…
    3 September 2018
  • Amy
    Re: Foraging for Mushrooms
    Hello, Im wanting some advice please,ive found a fungi/mushroom in my garden...ive been searching on the internet and it seems as its a…
    1 September 2018
  • Mick
    Re: Self-Sufficient Energy
    I am looking into a thermoelectric generator to place on my solid fuel burning stove. The stove is hot all but two weeks out of the year.
    26 June 2018
  • GoSelfSufficient
    Re: What Not to Do in Your Allotment
    Giancarlo - Your Question:Hello,My name is Giancarlo Cristea, I live in Tooting, London, where I came 3 years ago.…
    24 May 2018
  • Giancarlo
    Re: What Not to Do in Your Allotment
    Hello, My name is Giancarlo Cristea, I live in Tooting, London, where I came 3 years ago. Unfortunately I cannot work…
    23 May 2018