Bananas are versatile fruits you can enjoy in various ways. But have you ever considered turning them into delicious and potent liquor? Banana moonshine, also known as banana brandy, is an exciting recipe you can try. It uses minimal ingredients and is simple to make, making it an excellent choice for beginner moonshiners.
This batch only took me a few hours to prepare and makes around 2-3 bottles of 40% ABV spirit.
- Mash bananas: Peel the bananas, toss them in a fermenter, and mash them until they form a smooth pulp.
- Add water: Add inverted sugar and enough water. Make sure you leave enough headroom.
- Pitch yeast: Add yeast and yeast nutrient.
- Ferment: Ferment at 25℃ (77℉). When your hydrometer reads 1.100-1.120, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer.
- Distill: First, perform a stripping run, followed by a spirit run.
Grab some ripe bananas and let’s make this sweet and fruity beverage.
Table of Contents
What On Earth Is Banana Moonshine?
Banana moonshine is a spirit made by fermenting mashed bananas. The wash is distilled and the final product is sometimes aged. It’s a popular drink, especially in tropical regions where bananas are plentiful. You can enjoy it straight or mix it with other ingredients to create cocktails or pair it with sweet or spicy food.
What Does Banana Moonshine Taste Like?
The spirit is rich and banana-forward. It has a sweet and fruity flavor, and depending on the yeast you use and how you prepare it, it can contain hints of spice.
The Popularity Of Moonshine And Home-Brewed Spirits
Moonshine became popular because of its association with American history. During the Prohibition era, the sale, production, and distribution of alcoholic beverages were illegal, and moonshine became a popular alternative for those seeking alcohol.
Home-brewed spirits have gained popularity because people grew an interest in craft spirits. They enjoy the process of making their own spirits and experimenting with different flavors and techniques to create an authentic, unadulterated drink they can be proud of.
How To Make Banana Brandy (Banana Moonshine)
The recipe below yields about 3l (101 oz) of banana brandy and to enhance the aromas and flavors of the final product, we’ll use oven-baked bananas. Here’s how to prepare it.
- 10 kg (22 Ib) ripe bananas
- 2 kg sugar
- 3L hot water + 17L cold water
- 2 tsp citric acid
- 1 Packet Still Spirits brandy yeast or Lavin EC118
- Yeast nutrient
- Stainless steel pot
- Cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer
- Large fermenter
- French Oak barrel or chips/cubes
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place 5 kg bananas and bake at 160°C/320°F for 15 to 25 minutes or until the skin is totally black.
- Add the baked and the rest of the bananas into the fermenter and mash them until they form a smooth pulp.
- Create inverted sugar by pouring 2 kg of sugar into a pot filled with hot water. Stir until dissolved.
- Add the citric acid and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into the fermenter and top it with 17 liters of water to prevent the bananas from cooking further.
- Pitch the yeast and add the yeast nutrient as instructed on the packaging, and ferment at 25℃ (77℉).
- After a couple of days, take a gravity reading. It should be around 1.100-1.120.
Before distilling, clarify your wash by straining the wash through the cheesecloth.
- First, perform a stripping run and collect down to 10-15% ABV.
- Pour the low wines into the still and perform a spirit run. Make cuts accordingly.
- Pour 750ml brandy into glass jars.
- Add 20 mg of chips or 8 cubes into the jar.
- Seal your glass with a coffee filter and keep the filter in place with an elastic.
- Taste your brandy every two weeks until desired taste is achieved.
- Strain the brandy into a glass jar, seal it tightly, and store it.
Aging in barrels
- Pour the spirit into the barrel.
- Close the top of your barrel, and place the barrel in a cool, dark place.
- Check the barrel every week to ensure the liquor is not leaking. You can also rotate the barrel once a week to ensure all the alcohol gets nicely blended.
- After a couple of months, pour a bit of your brandy into a shot glass and taste. If it’s to your liking, transfer it into a tight-seal glass bottle and store it.
What To Do With Your Banana Brandy
You can enjoy your brandy straight or whip up tasty cocktails. Here are a few ideas to try:
- Banana Brandy Sour: Combine 59 ml (2 oz) of brandy, 22 ml (3/4 oz) of lemon juice, 14 ml (1/2 oz) of simple syrup, and a dash of bitters in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a glass filled with ice.
- Banana Brandy Colada: In a blender, combine 59 ml (2 oz) of banana brandy, 29 ml (1 oz) of coconut cream, 29 ml (1 oz) of pineapple juice, and 1 cup of ice. Blend until smooth and pour into a glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.
Banana moonshine pairing options
- Chocolate: The sweet, fruity flavor of banana brandy pairs well with chocolate. Try serving it with a rich chocolate dessert, like a chocolate mousse or a chocolate tart.
- Spicy Foods: The heat from spicy foods can be balanced out by the sweetness of the spirit. Try pairing it with spicy chicken wings, chili, or Thai food.
5 Tips To Get Perfect Banana Brandy Every Time
1. Perform a stripping run
A stripping run removes any impurities present in the wash, resulting in a cleaner and purer final product.
2. Use both ripe and oven-baked bananas
Ripe bananas contain a decent amount of sugar. But to bump up the alcohol content, bake the bananas before adding them to your fermenter. This helps release more sugars and also intensifies the fruit’s flavor and aroma for a rich and caramelized drink.
3. Don’t Over Fill Your fermenter
Fill your fermenter only halfway with the mash. This gives your mash room to expand during fermentation and prevents any messy situations.
4. Clarify your wash before distilling
To achieve a clear and high-quality brandy, clarify your wash by filtering any sediments that might burn and affect the taste of your final product.
5. Use Inverted sugar
Inverted sugar is a mixture of glucose and fructose created by breaking down sucrose (table sugar) using an acid like citric acid. It’s easily fermentable, resulting in a high alcohol content during fermentation. It also contributes to a honeyed taste.
Learn How: In this post I take you through step by step on how to make invert sugar yourself.
6. Try Some Different Yeasts
Check out this video below from Jesse on Still It. He makes a similar banana recipe to the one we made here and splits the batch to do two separate fermentations.
On one he uses the Still Spirits Rum yeast, and the other he tries is lalvin EC-1118 which is a wine yeast.
It’s amazing how much effect the different yeast strains have on taste, so i’d encourage you to experiment yourself.
Making your own banana moonshine is a fantastic way to expand on your home bar. The recipe is easy-to-follow and allows you to transform ripe bananas into a delicious spirit you can enjoy on its own or use as a mixer in cocktails.
Banana Brandy – Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can you make alcohol from bananas?
You absolutely can make alcohol from bananas. Technically speaking, a drink made from fermented fruit is called a fruit wine, and a spirit made from distilling a fruit wine is called a brandy. In the post above we show you exactly how to make this for yourself.
Q. How do you make alcohol with ripe bananas?
Here’s how to make alcohol with ripe bananas:
1. Mash bananas: Peel the bananas and mash them until they form a smooth pulp.
2. Optional: Add sugar to bump up the alcohol percentage.
3. Add water: Add enough water to the mashed bananas to create a slurry-like consistency.
4. Pitch yeast: Add a good brandy yeast and yeast nutrient.
5. Ferment: Ferment at 25℃ (77℉). When your hydrometer reads 1.100-1.120, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer.
6. Distill: First, perform a stripping run, followed by a spirit run.
Q. Can you make moonshine with just fruit?
Absolutely, You can make moonshine with just fruit. It contains natural sugars and can help yield a high alcohol content. That said, the nautura sugars in bananas will only yeild a very low ABV wine, in the order of 3% alcohol. I’d recommend you top up your fermenter with sugar to get a stronger products. Once done, it’s time to distill your banana wine into moonshine.
Q. What happens if you ferment a banana?
When you ferment a banana, yeast converts the fermentable sugars into ethanol and CO2. As the wash ferments, the flavor becomes more complex, which helps a smooth, balanced, and flavorful drink.
Q. What does banana alcohol taste like?
Banana alcohol is rich and complex, with a strong banana flavor at the forefront. It has a sweet, fruity flavor with notes of tropical fruits. Depending on the preparation method and yeast used, it can also contain hints of spice.
My Take: I reckon the taste of banana alcohol is somewhere between baked banana cake, and the fake banana milkshake flavorings you get. There’s also a hint of off/overripe fruit which i don’t like so much (some people do) but this mellows out if you choose to oak and age your spirit.
Q. How long does banana moonshine last?
Banana moonshine has an indefinite shelf life provided you keep it in a cool dark place and sealed to prevent any ingress of oxygen. If unoaked, the flavor won’t change much and should be drunk within a year or two prefferably. If oaked, the flavor will continue to develop much longer into the future.