Pumpkin is widely used in baby and dietic food, but for moonshiners, this squash is interesting primarily as a source of saccharine raw material, which can be used to obtain a distillate of decent quality. This recipe for homemade pumpkin moonshine offers a drink with a light pumpkin flavor and seedy aftertaste.
Depending on the variety and region of origin, pumpkins may vary in sugar content from 3-15%. In some rare cases, pumpkins are so sweet that you can do without sugar, but these are outliers.
Pumpkins have no wild yeast, that’s why adding dry, pressed or distiller’s yeast is a good idea. Using a raisin or berry ferment without yeast is pointless since this won’t affect the quality in any way—on contrary, this will prolong the fermentation process several-fold.
- Pumpkin – 20 kilos
- Sugar – 1-4 kilos (optional)
- Yeast – 300 grams of pressed or 60 grams of dry yeast
- Water – 20 liters and additional 3 liters per each kilo of sugar
Pumpkin Wash Recipe
Cut the pumpkins in halves and remove the seeds and the outer layer. Cut the pulp into pieces, put them in a cooking pot and top off with 15 liters of water. Simmer the pieces for 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often until the pumpkin becomes soft. Crush the pulp up till homogenous. After that put the resulting puree in a fermentation container and add sugar.
Alternatively, you can juice the raw pumpkin and then mix the juice with water (you’ll need 2 times less water), sugar, and yeast.
Pour in the remaining water. Mix and cool to room temperature. If the mash turns out thick, add more water to make the wash more diluted. Add yeast and stir. Install an airlock on the neck of the container. Move the pumpkin wash to a dark place with a temperature of 18-25°C. Fermentation lasts 5-12 days. Then the airlock stops emitting gas, and the wash becomes a bit bitter with no sweetness. You’ll also notice a layer of sediment at the bottom of the container. Now it’s distillation time.
Making Pumpkin Moonshine
Strain the wash through cheesecloth into a distillation still to prevent small pulp particles from burning during heating. Distill the pumpkin wash and keep collecting the distillate until the ABV drops below 30%. The collected product might be cloudy—that’s okay. Measure the potency and determine the amount of pure alcohol (volume multiplied by potency percent and divided by 100).
Dilute the moonshine with water to 18-20% as a safety measure and distill for the second time. The first 12-15% of your production are the foreshots, which should be collected in a separate container. This harmful fraction contains methanol and other harmful substances, thus it should be thrown out or used for technical purposes only.
Finish collecting the pumpkin moonshine when the ABV drops below 45 degrees. Dilute the distillate with water to 40-45%. It’s preferred to age your homemade moonshine for 2-3 days to improve the taste.