How to Ferment Fruit to Make Alcohol

Types of Fruit Vinegar

You can use almost any fruit or berry to make homemade fruit vinegar. Traditionally, frugal homemakers made a simple white vinegar from sugar, water, and a handful of raisins to introduce natural yeast, but using fruit dramatically improves both flavor and nutrition.

While some fruit juices do better with a bit of added sweetener, most of them don’t need any help. I wish I could say I’ve made every type you could imagine,but this simply isn’t true. The fact is, I don’t have access to every typeof fruit and when it comes to making vinegar, I will always be a learner! 

Here are the varieties I have made in my own home:

  • Apple Vinegar ~ A robust vinegar, excellent for herbal infusions, meat marinades, combine with milk for buttermilk substitute.
  • Apricot Vinegar ~ A light golden flavor, well suited to mild vinegarettes.
  • Blackberry Vinegar ~ An excellent candidate for shrubs, condiments, and salad dressings.
  • Elderberry Vinegar ~ Add ¼ C sweetener per quart (1 liter) juice before fermenting; take as a preventative for sickness.
  • Cherry Vinegar ~ A rich, thick vinegar, suitable for salad dressings, shrubs and summer drinks.
  • Chokecherry Vinegar ~ Add ¼ C sweetener per quart (1 liter) before fermenting; makes thick, heavy vinegar.
  • Red Currant ~  Suitable for dressings, condiments, use as an addition to sweet drinks.
  • Grape Vinegar ~ The flavor profile varies according to type, suitable for vinegarettes and dressings.
  • Juneberry Vinegar ~ A thick vinegar, use in salad dressings and add to refreshing summer drinks.
  • Mountain Huckleberry Vinegar ~ A wonderful option for refreshing summer drinks and vinegarettes.
  • Plum Vinegar ~ With a bold flavor, it pairs well with basil and is excellent for meat marinades.
  • Raspberry Vinegar ~ Has a  rich flavor, pairs well with mint in homemade condiments, vinegarettes and shrubs.
  • Strawberry Vinegar ~ Excellent for sweet salad dressings or refreshing sweet drinks.

There are obviously many other types of fruit vinegar, and traditional vinegars were made with just about any fruit available.

Multiple Varieties of Fruit Vinegar

Multiple Varieties of Fruit Vinegar


The Different Types of Alcohol

Rather than cover every type of alcohol on the planet, we’re only going to cover the most important ones in this post. Because let’s face it, even though I could explain to you what Kalju is (a fermented Finnish beverage made from sugar), in all honesty, you’re probably not going to hear about it again. 

Moving on…

The general list of acohol can be separated into two major categories. If you read the above sections on fermentation & distillation, you’ll know exactly what those categories are: fermented and distilled beverages. 

I’ve listed the most common types of alcohol in the categories below.

Fermented Beverages:

Fermented Beverages:

  • Beer
    • Ales
    • Lagers
  • Wine
    • Red Wine: (pinot noir, shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, etc)
    • White Wine: (chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio, etc)
    • Rose Wine: (usually soft red grape varieties)
    • Sparkling Wine: (Champagne, Prosecco are types of sparkling wine)
    • Fortified Wine: (A combination of wine & liquor)
  • Cider

Distilled Beverages:

  • Liquor or Spirits (they’re the same thing)
    • Vodka: (Smirnoff, grey goose, Belvedere, Absolut, etc)
    • Gin: (Tanqueray, Gordon’s, Bombay Sapphire, etc)
    • Whisk(e)y: (Scotch, bourbon, rye whiskey are all types of whisk(e)y)
    • Rum: (Havana Club, Bacardi, Captain Morgan’s,  etc)
    • Tequila: (Hornito’s, Patron, Don Julio, etc)
    • Brandy: (Cognac, calvados and Armagnac are all types of brandy)
  • Liqueurs (Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most popular liqueur brands)


  • Cocktail bitters
  • Alcopops (Also known as RTDs)

Without further ado, let’s take a look at what all of these alcoholic beverages are.

Home-Brewed Beer

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Beer is a fermented alcoholic beverage that's not much different than wine. Instead of fruit juice, beer is made by using the sugars derived from malted grains, better known as malt extract (it's available for sale in either dry or liquid form). The essence of beer is the brewer's yeast, which is what consumes sugar to produce the byproducts of carbon dioxide and alcohol. While yeast will “eat” most sugars, malt sugars are ideal for their chemical components.

Homebrewing can be as complex or as basic as you wish to make it. All you really need is a brewing bucket, a bubbler, and a siphon hose. The beer needs to ferment for a week or two. You'll accomplish this by putting your unfermented beer in the bucket, inserting the bubbler into the little hole on top (allows gas to escape without contaminating the beer), and letting it sit. When you’re ready to drink, just open the spigot and pour a glass.

However, if you want to bottle more beer for long-term storage, it makes sense to purchase a basic home-brewing kit. These are available at home-brewing stores and online and include the basic supplies you need to get started:

  • 6 1/2-gallon primary fermenter with lid
  • 6 1/2-gallon bottling bucket with bottling spigot
  • Cleanser
  • Airlock
  • Siphon and bottling setup
  • Hydrometer
  • Bottlebrush
  • Twin lever capper
  • Thermometer
  • Bucket clip

If you really get into home-brewing (many people do), there are many recipes to try and styles of beer to pursue. You can add adjuncts like chocolate, coffee, fruits, and spices for flavor, and explore different combinations of hops.

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What Other Alcoholic Drinks Can I Make?

Perhaps you are feeling a bit adventurous and festive. Try hard apple cider. Get yourself some red wine yeast (a different yeast than baker’s yeast), 5 gallons of apple juice, and a few bags of dextrose. You will also need a 5-gallon carboy and either a carboy cap or an airlock stopper. A funnel will help with pouring the apple juice into the carboy.

No boiling is necessary. Simply pour ½ a gallon of apple juice into a carboy.

Next, open the dextrose and add a single bag into the half-empty gallon of apple juice. Shake that mixture.

After that, pour the apple juice and dextrose into the carboy. Repeat that for the other gallons of apple juice. Pour all into the carboy when finished.

Add the yeast. You can use any leftover apple juice to wash off any yeast that got stuck to the carboy’s walls.

Lastly, add the stopper or airlock cap.

The result is a dry apple wine, known as apfelwein, that is based on a German recipe. You can try different types of yeast to change the flavor of the hard cider. Optionally, you can change up the flavor by using apple cider in place of apple juice.

Learn More About Fermenting Fruit Vinegar

Like the idea of DIY fruit vinegar? Be sure to check out my e-book “How to Create and Use Traditional Fruit Vinegar!” With over 60 pages of information, it’ll leave you feeling confident and empowered as you create vinegar from homegrown or foraged fruits!

I also share my favorite recipes, natural remedies, and kitchen tips for putting homemade fruit vinegar to use. If you want it, you can get it here!

Let me close by saying there is nothing more gratifying to the independent soul than taking home-grown fruit and turning it into something special, without relying on purchased culture and bacteria starters!


  • For specific instructions on making gin, see How to Make Gin.

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Things You’ll Need

Making Wine

  • Ripe fruit/fruit juice
  • Distilled water
  • Fruit press
  • Food-grade fermenting pail
  • Sugar syrup
  • Hydrometer
  • 1 US gal (3.8 L) bottles
  • Airlock
  • Wine/champagne yeast
  • Wine bottles
  • Corker
  • Sterilized corks
  • Siphoning tubing
  • Funnel
  • Sanitizing solution
  • Cheesecloth

Making Beer

  • Brewing starter kit
  • Large pot
  • Bottle caps/capper
  • Corn sugar
  • Ice bath
  • Beer bottles

Making Spirits

  • Copper pot still
  • Wine
  • Constant heat source
  • Glasses and jars
  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Water bath


Liqueurs are sweetened spirits that usually range between the 15-30% ABV mark and are often flavored with various herbs or spices. The flavoring and ABV% aren’t strict requirements, though. 

The only requirement needed for something to be called a liqueur is that a sweetener has been added. 

If a spirit is flavored but not sweetened, it is simply a flavored liquor, not a liqueur. 

Liqueurs are a considerable part of a bartender’s arsenal, and there are hundreds of different types. They’re commonly used to make cocktails and shots but are occasionally consumed as an after-meal digestif or a before-meal aperitif.

Types of Liqueurs:

  • Absinthe: An anise-flavored green liqueur. Absinthe is renowned for being high in alcohol (55-75%) and it was once rumored to induce hallucinogenic effects. However, that has since proven to be false.
  • Amaretto: An almond based liqueur. Disaronno is a popular amaretto brand.
  • Aperol: An Italian aperitif made of bitter orange, rhubarb, and other spices. Used to make the Aperol Spritz.
  • Averna: An Italian Digestif made from herbs, roots, and citrus rinds.
  • Baileys: An Irish Whiskey cream based liqueur. My wife is obsessed with it!
  • Campari: An Italian aperitif known for its bitterness. It’s commonly used in cocktails.
  • Chambord: A Raspberry flavored liqueur originating in France.
  • Chartreuse: A French Liqueur made by monks. It’s composed of over 100 herbs, plants & flowers local to its region and its resulting flavor is very unique.
  • Creme de anything: Creme de cassis, violet, cacao, etc, are flavored liqueurs. E.g. Creme de cassis is a blackcurrant flavored liqueur. The names are in French, but they’re not necessarily made in France.
  • Drambuie: A scotch-based liqueur flavored with honey, herbs, and spices. Used to make the ‘Rusty Nail’ cocktail.
  • Fireball: A cinnamon flavored Canadian based whisk(e)y. Commonly taken as a shot.
  • Frangelico: A hazelnut & herb flavored liqueur produced in Italy.
  • Galliano: A yellow, sweet, and herbal liqueur originating in Italy.
  • Grand Marnier: A brandy-based orange-flavored liqueur. It’s the brandy version of triple sec.
  • Goldschlager: A Swiss cinnamon schnapps with visible flakes of gold (the gold is real!) floating in it.
  • Jagermeister: A thick, sweet, herbal liqueur coming from Germany. There are 56 different herbs and spices in it and its most commonly taken as a shot.
  • Kahlua: A rum-based coffee flavor liqueur originating in Mexico.
  • Limoncello: An Italian lemon liqueur mainly produced in Southern Italy. The Italians are obsessed with it!
  • Maraschino: A strong sweet liqueur made from Marasca cherries. Luxardo is the most common brand.
  • Midori: A bright green colored melon-flavored liqueur.
  • Ouzo: A dry anise flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece. Similar to Sambuca but not as sweet.
  • Patron XO Cafe: A tequila-based coffee flavored liqueur. This has become extremely popular lately.
  • Pastis: An anise flavored aperitif widely consumed in France. Commonly taken with still water.
  • Sambuca: An Italian anise flavored liqueur. It’s usually colorless (sometimes black – appropriately labeled black Sambuca) and commonly taken as a shot.
  • Sloe Gin: A red liqueur made from gin and sloe berries. It’s absolutely delicious!
  • Southern Comfort: An American peach & spice flavored liqueur made from fruit, spice, and whiskey.
  • St Germain – An elderflower flavoured liqueur.
  • Tia Maria: A dark coffee flavoured liqueur made from Jamaican rum.
  • Tripel Sec: Originally called curaçao triple sec is an orange flavored liqueur. Cointreau is a highly regarded and popular brand of triple sec.
  • Tuaca: A naturally flavored brandy-based liqueur that’s brown in color and has strong vanilla notes.

A Quick Guide to Homemade Alcohol

If you just want to homebrew something without having to invest in equipment or kits, here is a straight forward method to make your favorite fruit juice into homemade alcohol.

This method has no dangerous implications and is quite simply just adding some yeast to regular fruit juice. Obviously, as with all alcoholic drinks you should drink in moderation, this also applies to the alcohol you make with this recipe.

Read Also: How to Make Vodka at Home?

Equipment list:

A Bottle of 100% pure fruit juice

A packet of yeast powder

An airlock 

A hydrometer -only if you want to measure the alcohol percentage-. (Amazon link)

Step 1 

Figure out how much yeast you want to use. Figure out if you want to make a high or low alcohol content beverage, and add yeast accordingly

Step 2 

Add the yeast to your juice. Pour the estimated amount of yeast into your juice bottle

Step 3 

Airlock. Attach the airlock and make sure you do it correctly, as this is crucial for the fermentation process.

Step 4 

Let it sit. As with all home brewing, fermenting takes time, but you should see results after 46 to 72 hours. If any residue gets into the airlock, it is a good idea to take it off and clean it to avoid contamination.

Step 5 

Pour your alcohol. It is recommended that you transfer the alcohol to other containers, and remove any leftover residue from the fermenting process to give the best taste experience.

You just made your own homemade booze with a simple yeast pack and an airlock, it is that easy! Seasoned homebrewers will probably frown if you call yourself a homebrewer while making this type of alcohol, but hey, it’s okay to start small!

Read Also: Best Propane Burner For Homebrewing 


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