Chacha is a traditional alcoholic drink that is prepared in Georgia and Abkhazia. Chacha has many names: someone classifies this drink as brandy, others call it cognac, but most lovers of spirits call it simply grape moonshine. Classic chacha differs in many respects from the one that is prepared in Russia, however, all varieties of strong drink have a pleasant taste and delicate aroma. Chacha is usually made from grapes, but you can also make it from other products.
You can learn how to make chacha with your own hands according to a traditional recipe, what fruits can replace grapes and what secrets will help you get a decent drink from this article.
Traditional preparation of chacha
Real Caucasian chacha is made from Rkatsiteli or Isabella grapes. To make moonshine, take pomace - cake left after making wine or grape juice, or fresh grapes.
You need to cook traditional chacha from only two components: grapes and water. The addition of sugar increases the yield of the finished product, improves fermentation, but has a negative effect on the taste and smell of the drink, and increases the content of fusel oils.
A classic grape drink can be called brandy, because it uses a distillation process. But, more often than not, winemakers do not do without sugar and yeast, trying to drive out as much of a strong drink as possible - this is no longer real chacha, but ordinary moonshine.
Chacha making technology
You can try to make real chacha without adding sugar, but you need to be prepared for the fact that the amount of the finished product will be several times less than the mass of the raw material.
For example, if the sugar content of grapes is at the level of 20%, out of 25 kg of berries, together with bunches, you will get only 5-6 liters of chacha, the strength of which will not exceed 40 degrees. If chacha is prepared from oil cake, the moonshine will turn out even less - all the efforts of the winemaker are not justified by such a result.
Therefore, you can add sugar to the classic recipe for chacha, and in order to neutralize the consequences, one trick is used. But yeast in this recipe for chacha will not be used, which will have a very beneficial effect on its quality.
For moonshine you will need:
- 25 kg of fresh grapes or cake left over after juicing or making homemade wine;
- 50 liters of water;
- 10 kg of granulated sugar.
Step by step moonshine from grapes is done as follows:
- The grapes are not washed so as not to remove the wild wine yeast from the skin. Knead the berries with your hands. The stalks do not need to be removed. Together with the juice, the crushed berries are placed in a large container (a saucepan is suitable).
- If the mash for chacha is made from cake, simply put it in the selected container.
- Water and sugar are added to the mash, mixed by hand or with a wooden stick. The container with the future chacha is not filled to the top - about 10% of the free space should remain. This empty volume will subsequently be filled with carbon dioxide.
- A water seal is installed on a pot with home brew and placed in a warm and dark place with a constant temperature of 22-28 degrees.
- Fermentation with natural yeast lasts long enough - 30-60 days, so you need to be patient.To prevent the mash from becoming moldy, it is regularly stirred (once every 2-3 days), lowering the emerging grapes to the bottom of the pan.
- When carbon dioxide ceases to be released, the mash will taste bitter, lose sweetness, and the fermentation process can be considered complete. The distillation of chacha was started.
- To prevent chacha from burning during cooking, it must be removed from solid particles, that is, drained from the sediment. At the same time, it is the seeds and twigs that give the chacha a unique taste and valuable aroma, so it is necessary to apply some trick. To do this, the mash is filtered through several layers of gauze and poured into a distillation tank. The precipitate is collected in the same gauze and suspended in the upper part of the distillation still. As a result of such actions, aromatic oils from the seeds will get into the moonshine, and it will be quite fragrant.
- Now the mash is distilled through a moonshine still. The distillation is finished when the strength of the drink in the stream drops below 30 degrees. The total strength of the distillate obtained is measured.
- Chacha is diluted with water in the amount of 20% of the total volume and the moonshine is distilled again.
- The resulting moonshine is divided into fractions: the top 10% are poured out - these are the "heads" that contribute to the hangover syndrome and have a bad effect on health, the main product (the "body" of chacha) is harvested until the strength in the stream falls below 45%.
- The strength of the finished moonshine is measured and diluted with water so that the strength of the drink is 45-55%.
Apple mash recipe
How many moonshiners, so many recipes for chacha. Each owner has his own recipe for this drink, at least slightly different from the rest. For those who want to experiment, we can recommend making moonshine not from grapes, but from other fruits: apples, tangerines, pears and others.
To make apple moonshine you will need:
- 25 kg of apples (you can mix them with pears, some moonshiners add potatoes - this is already a matter of taste);
- 50 liters of boiled water cooled to room temperature;
- 10 kg of sugar.
The production of apple chacha is no more complicated than the traditional one:
- Apples do not need to be washed; it is enough to wipe them with a soft cloth to remove dust and dirt.
- The fruits are pounded together with the peel and seeds, placed in a large container for fermentation.
- Add water and sugar, mix the mash and leave for a week and a half in a warm and dark place for fermentation.
- Regularly (every 2 days) stir the apple mash with your hands or a wooden spatula, trying to lower the fruit mass to the bottom.
- Fermentation can be considered complete if all the apples have sunk to the bottom, no air bubbles are visible in the liquid.
- Braga is drained from the sediment and distilled using a moonshine still.
- The strength of apple moonshine should be 50 degrees. From the specified amount of products, at least 10 liters of aromatic moonshine should be obtained.
How to cleanse chacha from fusel oils
Every novice moonshiner knows the problem of fusel oils, when the finished drink has an unpleasant smell and leaves an unpleasant "residue" in the form of a hangover syndrome.
To get rid of the booze, moonshiners have come up with a lot of ways to clean the finished chacha:
- Potassium permanganate. Potassium permanganate powder is poured into the moonshine at the rate of 2-3 grams per 3 liters of moonshine. The jar of chacha is closed, shaken well and heated to 50-70 degrees in a water bath. After 10-15 minutes, a precipitate should fall out - these are fusel oils. Moonshine is simply filtered and tastes excellent.
- Soda. For each liter of chacha, take 10 grams of baking soda, mix and stand for about half an hour. Moonshine should be mixed again and left for 10-12 hours. After this time, the moonshine is drained, leaving a little liquid with precipitated fusel oils at the bottom of the vessel.
- Violet root. For 3 liters of chacha, add 100 grams of chopped violet root. Infuse moonshine for at least 12 days. The method is very effective, but it is very difficult to find a violet with a root on sale, you can only grow it yourself.
- Freeze. Chacha is frozen in a glass jar or in a metal container. As a result, the water contained in the moonshine will freeze to the edges of the dishes, along with the water from the chacha, the fusel will leave. Pure moonshine will not freeze, but only thicken - it is poured into another jar. If necessary, the procedure is repeated several times.
- Charcoal. They use high quality coal (best of all, birch). Coal is pounded, poured into cheesecloth and chacha is filtered through this filter.
Secrets of successful brewing
The recipe for making chacha is not as important as adherence to the technology. Therefore, every moonshiner must strictly adhere to the instructions, strictly observe the proportions and use a high-quality alcohol meter.
The secrets of making fragrant chacha are very simple:
- using only high quality raw materials. These are blue grapes of sweet varieties or cake left over from processing. If fresh berries are used, they should be slightly unripe.
- If there is not enough wild yeast for fermentation of moonshine, special wine yeast should be used, baking yeast is not suitable for these purposes. How much yeast you need to add depends on the grape variety and its natural sugar content.
- Instead of special yeast (which is very difficult to find), you can use a raisin starter culture, which is easy to make at home.
- Good chacha has a strength of 50 to 70 degrees, it is not recommended to dilute this drink more, because grape moonshine is easy to drink in autumn.
- In small quantities, chacha is beneficial for health, because it relieves colds and viral diseases, stabilizes blood pressure, and treats inflammatory processes. However, large portions of alcohol, even very healing ones, are harmful and dangerous for the human body.
- It is most convenient to prepare chacha at the same time as wine: this way you can get two drinks at once from one raw material.
- To make the moonshine expelled from the grapes even more aromatic, it is stored and insisted in oak barrels.
It doesn't matter what recipe and from what products the chacha is prepared, it should still be strong and fragrant enough. This drink differs from ordinary moonshine in the presence of a fruit component and a minimum amount of sugar. Chacha is not just alcohol, it is a drink for real gourmets!