jailhouse rotgut

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sitting in an airport, waiting to board, gives you time to make some odd connections. In this instance, the trail led me from a note about the jailing of Lindsay Lohan, to the recipes for making wine in prison, to a brand new cure for hangovers.

Ms. Lohan, as the world surely knows, has been hauled off to prison for a variety of offenses that include missed court dates, drunk driving charges, and general rowdiness. She will probably be out in just a couple of weeks, and sadly will not have time to gather the necessary essentials to make her own wine. But just in case, I will pass along this link, which may or may not lead to fine wine, but certainly will help her (now in lockdown) pass a pleasant half hour or so just in the reading.

“How to make Wine in Prison” is the title of a long-running string of recipes from prison inmates, posted on the HubPages blog site. It’s a fascinating read, though I hold no aspirations to such arcane craftsmanship myself. The host introduces the topic with this chatty welcome:

“Prison wine... or prison hooch... is made all the time by those that really want a taste of grandpa's old cough medicine. It is commonly made in the cell toilet. The better choice, however, is to brew it in a trash bag.”

Precise instructions follow, which revolve around finding the key ingredients (fruit or vegetable, yeast, sugar, fermentation vessel) and the use of such ingenious stand-ins as trash bags, toilet bowls, and moldy bread. A barrage of alternative recipes, sparked and surrounded by an ongoing debate, are about evenly divided between “you can choke this stuff down if you’re desperate enough” and “this is the best prison hootch on the planet.”

Eventually the discussion gets around to making white lightning, with a brief debate about whether it is possible to hide a still in your jail cell. Here again man’s ingenuity rises to the challenge. A post signed 'I’m making some right now' advises “use a bucket with shrink wrap on top, a weight in the middle of that, and leave it in the sun or somewhere hot and the condensation forms on the cling wrap and drips into a cup in the middle, that’s white lightning.”

OK then. Now, on to the cure.

Samples of an anti-hangover “cure” called Cheerz arrived in the mail last week, and along with advice headlined “Party Smarter” (with “enjoy responsibly” in waaay teenier type) the Cheerz website offers a long-winded article about alcohol toxicity, user testimonials, and recipes for cocktails such as the Cheerztini, the No Cruda Margarita, and the Luxury Mojito (essentially they say make your drink, then add Cheerz).

Lindsey from California (OK, this is a different Lindsey) writes “I woke up with energy and I didn’t have that stay in bed feeling all day. My weekend in Vegas turned out to be the best time I have ever had, probably because I didn’t spend my days being sick.” Go Lindsey!

I’m doing my own field trials on Cheerz at the moment. So far it hasn’t turned my pee green or done anything harmful, and since I don’t drink to excess I haven’t had a hangover either. Can it prevent jailhouse rotgut from taking its toll? I'm afraid someone else will have to conduct that test, but I'll keep you posted.


Ajacks said...


Never let it be said that your post is not comprehensive and too WA wine concentric.
I do enjoy it when you indulge in these literary larks from time to time.
However, I am a bit sad that the omnipresent Lindsey Lohan has invaded our comfortable, clubby wine snob space.
Go Lindsey indeed


PaulG said...

Ajacks, Lindsey is not Lindsay! But thank you for putting up with my occasional "literary larks." Can't take any of this too seriously.

Post a Comment

Your comment is awaiting moderation and will be posted ASAP. Thanks!