The height of cranberry season is October through November, so now is a good time to share a cranberry moonshine recipe. This recipe is more of a cranberry vodka that starts with a sugar wash, getting its cranberry infusion by distilling with a gin basket. However, you can really make this recipe your own by starting with any of your own whisky mash recipes and then simply using fresh cranberries in the gin basket: I really want to try infusing last week’s honey moonshine recipe with cranberries.


Fermenting Directions

  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water to a boil and transfer to fermenter.
  • Add sugar to fermenter, stirring this “sugar water” mixture until completely dissolved (add more hot water if needed).
  • Add more water until you’re at a volume of about 6.6 gallons, cooling the “sugar water” mixture so that it reaches 100° F.
  • Once the mash is at or below 100° F, add entire package of turbo yeast while stirring vigorously to dissolve yeast and aerate. • Add fermenter lid and air lock.
  • Let ferment for 2 – 7 days at a consistent temperature that stays between 86° F and 100° F.
  • After fermentations is complete, let settle for 5 to 7 days, or add a clearing agent.
  • Transfer the mash to an appropriately-sized moonshine still with a siphon.

Distilling Directions

  • You’ll distill your moonshine using reflux distillation in a still with a gin basket.
  • When using a stainless steel moonshine still, be sure to incorporate copper into your column packing somehow. Learn more about how to correctly use copper mesh here, depending on the size and diameter of your column.
  • Add your cranberries to your gin basket, which should be located between the cooling lines and condenser on your column. Your vapor will pass through the gin basket, extracting the desired flavor and aroma compounds from the cranberries.
  • Next, heat up your still. We generally recommend using electric heat over gas for safety reasons, but make sure that you use an electric element that does not cycle. For a simple sugar wash like this one, I like an internal heating element like our Still Heater, which uses a 1” threaded NPT fitting.
  • Start running your cooling water to the condenser before any vapor is produced.
  • Remove and discard your foreshots, which is around 3 ounces.
  • Start collecting your distillate as the temperature should be at about 172° F now and staying consistent. Note that with reflux distillation, you don’t always need to separate the head and heart like you do with pot distilling.
  • You’ll know when you’re moving into the tails when the temperature starts to increase after a long time. The flow of distillate from the condenser will also slow down.
  • Finally, turn off your heat, but keep the cooling water circulating until you’re sure there’s absolutely no more vapor left.
  • Blend and/or cut your product to taste.
  • Enjoy!