With just a few simple household items, you can learn to make your own home-made brandy and other liquors. Great for home-made liqueurs too!
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You'll Need
5 quart pot or larger
A wok or a large glass bowl
A juice glass
Wine or Beer & Ice
Set-up: Put the pot on the stove. Place the juice glass in the center of the pot. Pour the wine or beer into the pot around (not in) the juice glass. Place the wok or large glass bowl on top of the pot right side up (see diagram below). Fill the wok or bowl with ice.
Distillation: Turn the stove onto the lowest possible heat. If your stove has a low BTU burner, use that one. Set the timer for one hour.
How it works: Alcohol vaporizes at a much lower temperature than water so if your pot starts to boil, it's too hot.
If the temperature is low enough, all that will vaporize is the alcohol. The alcohol vapor will rise to the top of the pot. Because the wok or bowl is filled with ice, it will cool the vapor and cause it to condense on the bottom side of it. Gravity will cause the condensation to run down the wok or bowl until it reaches the lowest point in the center. At that point the condensed alcohol will drip into the glass.
Alcohol Removal: Remove the wok or bowl and place to the side. Remove the glass with a hot pot holder or towel. Let the alcohol cool. For best results, place the glass of warm alcohol into a ice water bath immediately after removal. If you do this it will stop the vaporization of the alcohol.
Storage: Store the alcohol in a clean, air-tight container. The alcohol is a preservative so there is no need to add anything at this point unless you are concerned that you did not follow the steps accurately. If that is the case, add a very small amount of citric acid to preserve it; lemon or lime juice works well in most cases.