Quiet? Great views? Lots of time on your hands? Sounds like you are stranded on a desert island! However there is something missing. The sounds of the Hula perhaps and also that cocktail that would make the situation perfect!
We enjoy many long days and nights in hammocks around the world taking in the surroundings, sun bathing and relaxing but a refreshing drink really helps things along. Of course at night time what gets things going than a good tropical hit of bootlegged alcohol? To make alcohol yourself feels very pirates of the Caribbean.
In Fiji we were introduced to the obvious, but fantastic idea of how to make alcohol using fruit that we had to hand in the surrounding jungle. Fiji does do a fantastic rum called “Bounty”, which is 65% for the dark rum and great with fresh coconut milk. However with the main island of Viti Levu 16 hours away by boat we needed something a little more sustainable. We needed to make alcohol ourselves!
Ingredients you will need:
1 condom with a firm knot tied 3/4 away from the opening
1 container with lid and opening approx 10cm wide
6g packet of yeast
1 cup white sugar
1 l fresh fruit juice (apple, peach, mango work best)
1 l water
2-3 whole oranges or other citrus fruit
1 muslin cloth
Boil the container thoroughly for at least 10 minutes to sterilise. This is important to ensure bacteria doesn’t ruin the fermentation and make something that will cause you to go blind.
Pour the yeast, sugar and fruit juice into the container. Put the lid on the container and stir/ shake the mixture together thoroughly until as much of the sugar has dissolved as possible. Take off the lid and fill the container with the water. Put the lid back on and shake the mixture around while holding the lid down with one hand.
Take the lid off and stretch the condom over the opening of the container, ensuring it is a snug fit.
Leave the container in a an area away from sunlight and mild temperature (5C- 20C) for about 3- 6 days. The lower the surrounding temperature the longer you will have to leave the mixture to make alcohol with the sufficient volume and to ensure the yeast is all used up. Over time the condom will fill with gas from the alcohol forming in the drink. The drink is ready when the condom deflates.
Pour the mixture through the muslin cloth into another holding container and stand back to admire your creation. Then actually smell what you have created, as some of our concoctions have been so sour and rancid that it has ended up in the bin. However if you followed the instructions then you should have something that is highly drinkable. It should smell and taste like a strong version of the juices you used in the fermentation.
Store the drink in the refrigerator for when you need it, but probably and more likely drink immediately.
But how much to drink!?
At this point you may want to know how much alcohol you have produced. This is where we ran out of technology on our desert island. A machete can do a lot, but not measure alcohol content. For that you need a hydrometer, which we were surprised to learn is actually fairly cheap (around £3- £5). This will tell you a) how much to use and make a reasonable cocktail b) how the sugar-yeast-fruit juice combo performed. If you made less than 15% alcohol then you need to add more yeast and increase the temperature or length of time you leave the mixture.
Before you know it you will be swilling grog like the rest of ’em.