How to make a simple hooch

How to make a simple hooch ?

by PJ Barton, 2019 Apprentice

Hooch is the name we use to refer to our own homemade alcoholic beverages. In this blog I am going to explain how we make our delicious home brew. During the peak season at Rancho Mastatal we drink around 15 gallons of Hooch a week. We brew our Hooch in Corny kegs, these are great as they are made of stainless steel, they are easy to clean and easy to maintain as you can easily purchase all of the replacement seals.

Our Corny Kegs

Our Corny Kegs

For thousands of years humans have been fermenting for recreational, spiritual and medicinal uses. Fermentation allows us to safely store ingredients without the need for refrigeration and prior to the advent of electricity it was the primary way to store certain foods and drinks. Although hooch is an alcoholic beverage, it can also be brewed for medicinal purposes, by adding herbs and spices with the desired properties. By actively harvesting fresh fruits and yeasts from our surrounding area, creating and exploring new brews, we are able to connect to our environment in a fun and practical way. Hooch is a great way to use up fruits which are already naturally fermenting and processing them into something enjoyable to consume, turning our waste into something useful.

Yeast is a culture that is one of the base ingredients for making Hooch. It feeds on sugars when we mix it with sugar and water creating carbon dioxide and alcohol. We can buy commercial yeast strains, which are sold for brewing or we can harvest our own wild yeasts from our environment. Different wild yeasts will impart different flavors and characteristics to our homemade brew, try experimenting with these wild yeasts and see which ones produce flavors you enjoy most!

Harvesting Wild Yeast

To harvest wild yeasts from fruits and flowers

  1. Collect them in a sterile jar and leave in a dilution of 20 percent sugar to water (eg 40g of sugar to 200ml of water).

  2. After 48 hours (although this will depend on the ambient temperature), sediment should start form on the bottom of the jar, bubbles will start appearing, and your solution will begin to ferment. this is a sign of a healthy solution!.  

  3. Remove the fruit or flower from the liquid.

  4. Continue feeding with sugar every day for a week and you will have you own yeast culture that you can use to start brewing with.

Basic Hooch recipe

This basic Hooch recipe is really simple and uses 3 simple ingredients. You can add fruits or herbs to extract the taste that you desire. There are many opportunities for experimentation when you start making your own alcohol and hopefully you can create delicious beverages to enjoy with your family and friends.

Simple recipe to make your homemade hooch:

        For a 2 gallon batch

·        2 pounds unrefined cane sugar (we use Tapa Dulce)

·        2 gallons of water – 1 gallon tea

·        2 cups of wild yeast solution (see above instructions on how to harvest wild yeasts)


Tapa Dulce

Tapa Dulce

How to prepare:

  1. Melt the sugar into a gallon of hot water, until the sugar has dissolved.

  2. Mix in the remaining gallon of water to help cool off the sugar water, make sure you cool it down to 100F degrees. This process is creating a wort in which you pitch the yeast.

  3. Once the liquid has cooled down pitch the yeast. Stir it well and transfer it to a container with an airlock for a minimum of 1 week before consuming


This is a standard hooch consumed on the ranch other enjoyable combinations such as coca, vanilla and ginger or oranges, cinnamon ginger. In every available resource there’s a new taste to explore.  Enjoy and have fun experimenting