This alcoholic drink is considered a trademark of the South Caucasus. Mulberry moonshine can be rarely seen in stores, and its price is not that different from good whiskeys or brandies. Making mulberry moonshine or Tutovka is not much harder than making a sugar wash. All you have to do is follow the recipe.
Tutovka is a distillate made from fermented mulberries that has 40-80% ABV and is produced in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Qarabağ. Aging in barrels made from mulberry tree gives this drink a green and yellow shade and a persistent fragrance with hints of herbs. Tutovka is drunk like a dessert liqueur or served neat during festivities (sometimes with ice). In the latter case, any meat, fish or smoky and pickled dishes can be used as a chaser.
If you have enough mulberries, you can make Tutovka at home. Any red or white types of mulberries can be used. The important thing is that they are as sweet as possible. Berries are harvested by covering the ground under a mulberry tree with some type of cloth and waiting for them to fall down.
White mulberries are the sweetest
The only problem with mulberries is that they spoil very fast—they can be stored up to three days. It is preferred to sort them out during the first day of picking.
Mulberry Wash Recipe
- Mulberry berries – 10 kilos
- Water – 12 liters and another 4 liters per kilo of sugar
- Sugar – up to 3 kilos (optional)
Real Tutovka is made without sugar. At the time of harvest, the natural sugar content of mulberries is about 16-18%. This means that you can get about 2 liters of a 40-degree moonshine from 10 kilos of mulberries. Adding 1 kilo of sugar will increase the yield by 1.1-1.2 liters of a less fragrant 40% moonshine. It’s up to you to decide whether to sacrifice the quality for quantity or not. Baker’s pressed or dry yeast ferment faster than wild yeast (3-7 days instead of 15-45) but they do this at the expense of the fragrance. That’s why we don’t recommend using baker’s or dry yeast.
- Crush unwashed mulberries by hands or in any other way. Don’t wash away wild yeast on their surface or your mash won’t ferment.
- Put the obtained puree into a fermentation container, add sugar (optional), then top up with warm water (25-30°C). Mix it up well.
- Install an airlock on the container’s neck and then bring the container to a dark place with a temperature of 18-24°C. Mix the mash once a day to crush a pomace cap. Depending on the temperature and yeast activity the wash will get brighter and become bitter without any sweetness. If there’s a layer of sediment forming at the bottom of the container, no hissing sound or foam, then it’s time to start distilling.
Mash under an airlock
Obtaining Mulberry Moonshine (Tutovka)
- Decant the wash into a distillation still. Make sure that no pulp gets into the still as its particles will burn and spoil the taste. If you have a steam generator, you don’t have to worry about this.
- Distill the wash for the first time without cutting. Stop collecting the main product when the ABV drops below 30%. Measure the ABV of the obtained distillate and determine the ABV. Dilute the moonshine with water to 20% and distill it for the second time. Discard the first 10-12% of the yield from the amount of pure alcohol. This top fraction is called “foreshots,” and it is poisonous, thus you should avoid drinking it. Keep collecting the main product until the ABV drops below 45%. Dilute the distillate with water to 40-55%. Let it infuse for 2-3 days in a sealed container in a fridge or cellar before tasting it.
Tutovka that hasn’t been aged in barrels