Hootch is a variant spelling. This recipe was folded up with just the name written on the outside and tucked into the bottom of the box. To extract it you had to remove the cards.

Presumably that was due to a moral judgment, because in most places there’s nothing illegal about making hooch. Selling it without paying taxes on it would be illegal, and in some places, distilling it would be illegal, but if you want to go ferment yourself something and drink the result, have fun. In prison they call it pruno. Here’s some in-depth instruction on making it.

It tastes approximately awful. I’ve never totally jumped on board for homemade alcohol. To me, it’s like making homemade aged cheese; with a lot of investment and a lot of effort, we can sometimes approximate something that’s not completely repulsive. Or we can make some food and go buy beer.

From a box sold in San Antonio, Texas.


6 oranges
6 lemons
2 yeast cakes (Fleischmann’s)
8 lbs. of sugar
1 1/2 lbs. of raisins
2 gal of water
about 1 doz. cloves
2 1/2 lbs. of yellow corn meal

Let stand for 28 days in 4 gallon crock. Stir every 3 days.


  1. Darcy

    Thank you for saying, “It tastes approximately awful.”. I don’t laugh easily so I need laughs, and it made me laugh.

  2. Dd

    Thank you for making me laugh also! And now I don’t need to bother with making the recipe either …much thanks. But a nice bit of history.

  3. P Pritchett

    This has to be a “southern thang” because I grew up hearing my mom ask my dad if he had been in the hootch

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