Distilling your own potato vodka at home may seem like a daunting process but if you are willing to invest the necessary time and follow a few simple directions, you can create your own vodka. Most vodkas currently on the market are made with grain because grain is cheaper than potatoes. However, many vodka enthusiasts prefer drinking potato vodka to grain vodka. Your homemade potato vodka will be a wonderful spirit to offer your family and friends at your next gathering.
Make the Mash
Boil the potatoes. Wash the potatoes, but do not take the time to skin them. Boil the 20 lbs. of potatoes in a large pot for 1 hour.
Mash the potatoes. Discard the water that the potatoes boiled in. Then, mash the potatoes in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, you can mash the potatoes manually.
Put the mashed potatoes back in the pot. Add 5 to 6 gallons of water to the mix. Then heat the potato and water mixture to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add 2 lbs. of crushed barley or wheat. After adding the wheat or barley, stir the contents of the pot thoroughly. Allow the mixture to cook for two hours.
Let the mixture sit in the pot overnight. Try to keep the temperature in the pot at about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Allowing the mixture to sit overnight lets the barley or wheat breakdown the starch.
Fermenting Your Vodka
Strain the mash into a sterilized bucket. For 5 gallons of liquid you will produce you will need a sanitized 7.5 gallon bucket to contain the mixture as it ferments.
Add yeast to the mixture. Cover the bucket with its lid, but do not seal the container completely. If the container is completely sealed, it may explode -- the gases produced by fermentation cause the container to expand.
Allow the mixture 2 weeks to ferment. Keep the mixture in an area where the temperature will stay about 80 degrees Fahrenheit for the duration of the fermenting process.
Distill and Bottle Your Vodka
Collect the fermented liquid from the bucket. The yeast must be left in the bucket.
Heat the liquid in a still. The liquid must not be heated above 173 degrees Fahrenheit.
Discard the methanol. Discarding the harmful substance will mean discarding about 2 oz. for every 5 gallons of fermented liquid.
Collect the vodka. After the first distillation and removal of the methanol, you are left with the vodka. All of the liquid in the still is viable except the last 50 ml., which should be discarded.
Bottle the vodka after it cools. You can bottle in glass containers and seal with corks, or store spirit in any other airtight container.
Eliza Herring has been writing professionally since 2007. She has worked as a contributing writer for "Lumina News" and "Topsail Voice" newspapers. Herring holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from University of North Carolina at Wilmington.