Papa’s Homemade Hooch
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- One lemon or one lime (or half of each), juiced
- 2 inches of fresh gingerroot, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon of yeast
Fit the top of a clean, dry, empty 2-liter soda bottle with a funnel. Pour the sugar and yeast into the bottle. Swirl gently to distribute the yeast through the sugar. Leave the funnel in the bottle and set aside.
Combine the citrus juice and the grated gingerroot in a measuring cup and swirl to mix. Pour through the funnel into the bottle. There may be some ginger and citrus pulp left in the funnel and measuring cup. That is okay! To rinse the additional pulp out of the measuring cup and into the bottle add clean drinking water to the measuring cup and swirl. Pour this through the funnel. That should have cleaned out the measuring cup and the funnel. Remove the funnel and screw the cap on tightly. Shake the bottle vigorously to mix. Remove the cap and fill the bottle to within an inch of the top (that should be just about where the bottle starts to narrow at the neck), cap tightly and invert repeatedly to dissolve sugar. Use your thumb to press in the side of the bottle and take note of how far it gives under the pressure.
Place bottle in a warm (but not hot) place for about 24-48 hours, or until the bottle is very firm. When the bottle does not yield to firm pressure it is time to refrigerate! Do not leave the bottle out for more than 48 hours as you run the risk of it bursting after that point. Chill completely, preferably overnight, and pour over ice. If you find pulp and small bits of ginger objectionable, strain the soda over your ice.
This last bit of advice comes straight from my Dad. “Rinse the bottle out with water immediately after pouring your last glass. Otherwise you’ll never get the dad-burned stuff out of there.” He’s right. I tried washing out an empty hooch bottle after it had sat out, capped- I might add, overnight. I ended up recycling the blasted thing. When will I learn to listen to my Dad the first time?