Making your own alcohol is a unique pleasure, like raising your own hens for breakfast eggs or learning how to rig a solar shower. It is a craft to be practiced, and an art to share with friends and friends-to-be. We encourage you to explore on your own with these techniques, using local ingredients to experiment to your heart’s content.
Brewing African Beer
For the brewers amongst us, some kit is necessary. We suggest starting with a commercial brew kit, or inheriting one from an expatriate when they leave. Homebrewing beer is very popular and common now, so if you put the word out, eventually you’re likely to find a homebrew kit to buy. If you’re thinking of bringing a homebrew kit over on an airplane, be forewarned. The glass carboy is too big to carry on the plane and would need to count as a piece of luggage.
Herbal and Fruit Infusions
For fruit and herb infusions, the kitchen equipment required is far simpler. Alcohol, purchased in bottles, is mixed with its flavorings in the bottle. There are so many African flavors of fruit, spices, bontanicals and bitters to choose from. Whatever you do, be sure to keep notes on the bottle of what you did and when, so you learn along the way what you like the best. When making infusions, especially with bitters and herbs, cruelty-free local honey makes an ideal natural sweetener.
Kombucha and Kefir
Health food enthusiasts and some chefs have heard of kombucha, which is very popular in the U.S. and some parts of Europe for its high B vitamin and enzymatic qualities as a raw food. Kombucha is a probiotic sweet tea that’s effervescent, like a sour soda pop. Once you get a culture, which you can bring in your suitcase if you pack it properly, you can grown your own and soon have cultures to share. I’ve had great fun learning how to make and brew kombucha and I encourage you to try it!