Moonshiners! By Brian


Don’t get me wrong, we’re not absolute lushes but Delos does enjoy our daily sundowner, or two, or three…  We were provisioning in Cairns to take us to Darwin, a trip of about a month in length and did the calculation. Alcohol here in Australia is stupidly expensive.  Seriously, a bottle of local rum will set you back about $40.00 AUD.  And that’s not even 1 liter.  It’s not even 750ML, no it’s for 700ML.  A small bottle.  Really?  I know Australia is expensive but seriously that’s ridiculous.  With 4 people on Delos (soon to be 5 after Hurricane Nina joins) we were left with some pretty serious decisions.

*UPDATE!*  Delos is now proudly sponsored by Still Spirits for all our moonshining needs!  Be sure to check them out at or !

A) No more sundowners.  (Really not an option, there are just too many beautiful sunsets.)

B) Pay $40.00 for a 700ml bottle of Rum.  (Impossible, and a disturbing thought even if we could afford that.)

C) Be Pirates and plunder other vessels.  (This only occasionally works and makes you less popular in the cruiser world.)

D) Become Moonshiners!  (We heard from everyone we’re bound to go blind.)

It didn’t take much math to figure out that for the price of about 10 bottles we could buy our own still, and get sorted out with enough Turbo Yeast and flavor fixings to potentially blind us and all our friends.  Just kidding about the blindness part but that was most people’s reaction when we discussed our plans.  It was sort of like poor Ralphie in a Christmas Story wanting his BB Gun, only to here “You’re gonna shoot your eye out!” except for us it was “You’re gonna go blind!”

Well, we did a bit of research on the trusty ole’ internet and it turns out that although Methanol poisoning is a reality, (and easily avoided during distillation) the real trouble comes when the pure alcohol is diluted.  Way back in the boot-legging days people used to cut their alcohol with all sorts of nasty things, just like drugs are cut by your neighborhood king-pin today.  In the pursuit of profit the boot-leggers were diluting the good liquor with terrible things which had all sorts of nasty side effects, hence the reason why moonshining got a bad rap.

And so we were off to visit the slightly crazy, barely intelligible, and quite possibly drunk Chinese lady at the local home brew shop in Cairns. After all purchasing your own still and distilling liquor here in ‘Straya is absolutely legal!  She hooked us up with a sweet little 5 liter reflux still (perfectly boat sized) and a page of instructions in broken English.  Given the price of liquor we expected to break even after our 8th liter.  According to our trusty information this should happen during our first batch.  So we were off in a liberated shopping trolly from Woolworths loaded with groceries and 8KG of sugar, pushing our still down the streets of Cairns past the hoards of backpackers.  We settled onto Delos to start our first batch.

Well I’m happy to report that our trusty little 5 liter still is working like a champ and we’ve finished our first batch and started our second! So far we’ve produced 10 liters of 40 proof liquor and still have one more run to do, so as far as I’m concerned mission accomplished!  We’re ahead in this game already.

Our cost per liter of alcohol is about $6.50, including the diesel to run the generator for 2 hours for the still (which we need to do anyway to fill dive tanks.)  So really let’s say it’s $3.50 per liter which is cheaper than we found even in Mexico and duty Free Tahiti!

Indonesia apparently has the largest Muslim population in the world, something like 88% or 203 Million people, so all we really need to do now is figure out how to make our own bacon.

All is well on Delos and nobody has gone blind as of yet……

Step 1- Mix the Super Turbo Yeast with water and 8 kilos of sugar. Let the yeast do it’s work!

Step 2- Fill your still with the fermented goodness.

Step 3- Run the still and get rid of the bad stuff that blinds and kills you! The first 50ML for our still…..

Step 4- Dilute to a reasonable strength that doesn’t burn your mouth.

Step 4- Filter with activated charcoal to remove the yeasty taste and purify.

Step 6- Add your choice of delicious flavor.

Step 7- Bloody Mary with bacon and eggs time! This is a picture of our first drink of our Moonshine Vodka. We made a pact and all drank at the same time…… Life is pretty good.

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