BWCA Wilderness Hooch? Boundary Waters BWCA Food and Recipes
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      Wilderness Hooch?     



distinguished member (415)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/30/2023 12:31PM  

I was thinking that next season I may try to create a wine/beer/spirit in the wilderness. Ideally, the method/recipe would use wild berries or other foraged ingredients, though I am not opposed to using some purchased ingredients which may be impossible/hard to acquire natively. A big consideration would be limiting the extra equipment which would be required (especially that which is bulky) & leveraging cooking gear I already carry as my canoe is just about maxed out. I’ll have all winter to hone in the process before trying it out ‘in the field’ in 2024.

Any ideas?
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member (16)member
08/31/2023 04:09AM  
Hmm.... putting on my thinking cap here.

Hard alcohol would typically need a still which seems challenging.
Beer is a bit complicated and I can't really see how you'd make it using all (or even largely) local materials. Hops, barley, etc. not being readily available on most of the lakes I visit :-)

Wine on the other hand... my first thought was, you could make a berry wine. Blueberries or raspberries ought to be able to form a decent wine. The only stuff you'd need to bring from outside might be some sugar, and maybe some yeast unless you really want to experiment & try capturing wild yeast (!).
09/11/2023 08:50PM  
If you don't mind overnight temperatures in the low 30s for a few days, tapping maple trees and boiling down the sap might be an option.

It's fun to think through. You'd need to find maple trees of course, make a tap hole (with a pocket knife?), and the only extra gear you'd need are some taps, plastic collection bags and a good size boiling pot. Depending on the pot it seems like a pretty manageable load.

One maple that's producing well should give enough sap for a pint of syrup in two days (from my experience). You can scale up from there to meet your ambitions. Once the taps are set up and running you can go about your business but boiling could take all day, which means keeping the fire going at a good temp and the pot filled and not much else.

Recipes suggest you could boil it down anywhere between a juice like consistency (about a 1/10 reduction for maple wine) and actual maple syrup (1/40 reduction for maple mead).
senior member (93)senior membersenior member
10/07/2023 12:25AM  
Well, if you define your challenge in a particular way, there are many possibilities for specialty mixed drinks. For instance, on Brule Lake, use a bit of whiskey, some sour electrolyte drink mix, freshly filtered lake water and a local garnish (rose hips? Wild mint? Sprig of cedar?) and you can name it a Whiskey Brûlée! Next day, another variation and another memorable custom mixed drink.
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