How to make homemade grape cognac
Grapes are not only a source of raisins, juice and wine. From it you can make high-quality strong drinks. And we are not talking about banal moonshine - you can make excellent brandy from these berries, the recipe of which will be described in our article.
Grapes for the production of cognac
Cognac is made even from the most unpretentious and saturated grape varieties. Many winemakers do not distinguish between varieties, but some of them do not recommend the use of nutmeg species for cognac production.
Which grape variety is better to choose
Choose white or pink table varieties that give the best result in the distillation of wine material. With the right approach, the most varied types of grapes are fully applicable, and each has its own advantages:
- table - white and pink light varieties (Aligote, Rkatsiteli, Sylvaner) give the best result in the distillation of wine material;
- nutmeg - give cognac aroma, sweet notes, some spice;
- ordinary, most common wine varieties (Isabella, Lydia, etc.) can also become the basis of a good strong drink.
Important! Specialists do not recommend making cognac from Cabernet and Saperavi varieties - the drink is bitter because of the large amount of tannins contained in the fruits.
Recipe for cognac from grapes at home
Recipes for making cognac have differences only in the form of additives and seasonings. The basis for most home production manuals is the same.
Recipe number 1
Ingredients and Proportions of Real Grape Cognac
To make a drink you will need an oak barrel with a volume of 40-50 liters. If one is not available, you can do with a metal tank (enameled or stainless steel).
Important! The amount of sugar is determined depending on the juiciness and sugar content of the grapes. If the material is very sweet, sugar can not be added at all.
Recipe number 2
How to make wine stock
The first step in the production of cognac is the production of young wine, which will serve as a raw material for producing cognac alcohol by distillation through a moonshine. How much sugar is needed per 1 liter of wort is determined by taste - depending on the grape variety, the amount of sugar can be different.
- The berries removed from the bunches are pressed in portions in a medium-sized pan. You can use the usual pusher for potatoes. The crushed mass is poured into a large container (for example, in a plastic or enamel bucket). Grapes do not need to be washed - there is also yeast on their surface. Contamination is removed with a dry soft cloth. It is desirable that the crushed pulp remains on whole bones.
- Add water and sugar - 1 liter and 1 kg per bucket, respectively. With good juiciness and sweetness of the material, this is optional.
- The container is covered with a cloth and cleaned in a dark, dry place (pantry, dry cellar or basement) for 4-7 days.
- During the day, a dense layer of foam and pulp appears on the surface, which must be mixed 2 times a day.
- After a few days, the wine begins active fermentation with foam, gurgling and hissing. When the whole pulp rises, it is necessary to filter the composition through a colander, and squeeze the pulp through cheesecloth or fine mesh.
- Sugar (usually half a cup for a liter) is added to the drained wort to taste and mixed well until completely dissolved.
- The resulting juice is bottled (about 3/4 volume) and a water seal or a rubber glove with a punctured hole is installed.
- The bottles are placed in a dark warm place for 3-5 weeks. When the bubbles stop appearing in the water seal or the glove starts to deflate, you can start making brandy.
Did you know? Cognac has the right to be called only a drink produced in the Charente department in the French region of New Aquitaine. Everything else like alcohol, made even with the best technologies in other places of the planet, is just brandy.
Wine alcohol making
Obtaining alcohol using a moonshine is carried out in 3 stages - only with such thoroughness can pure wine alcohol come out to make brandy. We describe a phased scheme for producing wine alcohol.
- The young wine is filtered and poured into a cube apparatus.
- Distill at high speed - up to 3 l / h.
- The first 50–70 ml of distillate (“head”) is poured - they contain too high a content of harmful impurities like acetone and methanol.
- The main fraction (“body”) is collected until the fortress drops to 30 °.
- Moonshine is diluted with water to 20 °.
The second distillation is carried out according to the same methodology as the first - with the pouring of the “head” and the careful collection of the “body”. The resulting raw material is again diluted with water to a strength of 20 °.
- 150 ml of “head” are poured.
- Alcohol is collected until its strength drops below 45 °.
- To obtain moonshine, it is possible to collect distillate with a strength of up to 30 ° - these are the so-called tails.
Video: wine spirit recipe
Brewing a drink
To insist the resulting wine spirit and give it all the qualities of cognac, you need an oak barrel. Not every owner has it, so you have to resort to tricks - use oak pegs called vinokursy chips. The preparation of these “chips” is a long and time-consuming process, so the option of acquiring a barrel is more promising, albeit more expensive. You can also look for pegs or oak extract for sale - such an offer exists on the market.
Did you know? In the manufacture of brandy barrels that are made without a single nail are more valued. Such containers are carefully stored and they are even specially populated with spiders that weave cobwebs and catch pests.
Pegs can be prepared independently:
- An adult oak is used (from 50 years old, with a trunk diameter of 35 cm).
- Ideally, a fallen tree should lie for 2-3 years, steeping in the rain and snow.
- Lumps up to 20 cm long are poured with boiling water for several minutes and soaked in cold water for half an hour.
- Make pegs with a square section of 5-10 mm to fit in a three-liter bottle.
- Up to 30 pegs are placed in each bottle, filled with wine spirit with a strength of 42–45 °, containers are rolled up.
- Infusion lasts up to a year, after which the drink is ready to drink.
Video: preparing the drink for infusion
Home-made cognac does not always acquire a classic dark color. To fix this, you can add caramel to the drink. There is nothing seditious about this - even in the composition of expensive French cognacs there is such a component. Caramel is added to taste and is not a required ingredient. 50 ml of caramel is usually added to a three-liter bottle of cognac, after which the drink is mixed and kept closed for at least a week.
The finished product is filtered through cotton wool or several layers of gauze, poured into glass bottles and tightly corked. Store homemade cognac made on oak pegs should not be longer than three years - with all the semblance of technology, it is still an amateur drink, and its quality deteriorates over time.
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Making cognac at home is a rather time-consuming process, but the final result in the form of an amber drink is definitely worth the time and financial cost of its production. The hosts will be pleased to treat them to their guests, who will surely like such a treat made on their own.