Hacking Cheap Liquor

How to make value brand booze taste like top shelf spirits.

It's time to take back the taste from cheap booze.

It's time to take back the taste from cheap booze.

Nobody wants to drink from the bargain bin. Cheap liquor leaves a bad taste, ruins mixed drinks, and is a quick way to dampen the good vibes at a party. So, what if there was a way to turn that value-brand booze into something fit for royalty? Sound too good to be true? Behold, the magic of refiltering...

Re-filtering with Charcoal

Don't ruin mixed drinks, re-filter first!

Don't ruin mixed drinks, re-filter first!

We all know how well this famous filter works on water. Shady liquid in, pure water out. This works because Brita uses carbon to filter out the bad particles out of the water. Coincidentally, this also happens to be the same substance distilleries all over the world use to filter high-end liquors.

The process is relatively simple:

1) Start by transferring the alcohol you want to re-filter into the Brita.

2) Pour the alcohol from the filter into a large jar.

3) Transfer the now filtered booze back into the Brita.

4) Repeat this process until the liquor is more pleasing to your palate.

This method is particularly effective for taking the edge off of cheap vodka that is going to be used in a mixed drink but can be used with any brand, type, or proof of alcohol.

Stop Swirling, Start Blending

Use a blend to swirl for an entire group of partygoers.

Use a blend to swirl for an entire group of partygoers.

The iconic wine glass swirl can make you appear to be a connoisseur of fine wines. But, what does it actually accomplish? In short, swirling mixes in air and releases certain compounds that may be harsh. This is done with other liquor as well, such as whiskey.

It turns out, you can actually put your beverage of choice into a blender to achieve the same aeration, but without wearing the wrists of your party guests.

The key is to dump the amount of alcohol you plan to drink into the blender and mix on high for about 30 seconds. Allow the liquor to settle before serving.

Store Vodka in the Freezer

Store Vodka in the Freezer

Fine scotch should be enjoyed at room temperature. It allows the pleasing aromas of the whiskey to tickle the nose and results in maximum flavor. The same thing can't be said for a bottle of cheap vodka from the local grocery store.

By serving vodka as cold as possible, you will limit compounds that become aerated. This results in a smoother, less harsh taste and vastly improves the quality of a drink. High-quality vodka is rated on how little of an aftertaste it leaves, and ice cold vodka reduces the aftertaste in a cheap bottle.

Infusion is Fruitful Work

Infusion is Fruitful Work

Skip the sugary sodas, concentrated juices, or bland sports drinks. Instead, infuse your liquor with natural fruit and spices.

Fruit infusion can involve a bit of pre-planning, but it's totally worth it in the end.

1) A few days ahead of a party, pour your alcohol into a large container or jar and throw in your preferred flavor.

2) Shake the container or jar several times a day until the time you are ready to use it.

3) Shortly before use, strain the liquor using a common kitchen strainer. This removes large particles from the drink.

Note: This works great if you use the charcoal filter method from above before you mix in the fruit.

Be as creative as you can with the flavors. A few combinations could be whiskey and cherry, rum and cinnamon, tequila and watermelon, or gin and lemon!

Now Reading
Hacking Cheap Liquor
Read Next
Archer's Guide to Cocktails