As an avid fan of Naked and Afraid, purely for entertainment, I watched a pair of badass survival experts make jungle hooch, or wine from coconut water. Laura Zerra, survivalist and knife maker, makes alcohol in the middle of the jungle during a 60-day survival challenge from her surroundings. While they don’t list out every ingredient on the episode and provide instructions on how to do this, we can make some assumptions on how she managed to make survival booze.
What is Jungle Hooch?
On season 5 of Naked and Afraid XL, the crew took on a survival challenge in the Philippines.
Laura Zerra and Jeff Zausch take on an extended challenge of a full 60-days. They’re doing so well during this challenge with their abundance of bananas, that they even have time to try a few new tricks out. One of these tricks is making an alcoholic drink from nothing more than what they can find in the jungle.
In this particular scene, it showed Laura boiling coconut water and placing it into a bamboo container. She mentioned she was able to scrape yeast from what looked to be a sugar cane stalk.
With those 3 “survival supplies,” we can make a few assumptions with our knowledge on how Jungle Hooch was made.
It’s Prison Wine
Pruno, or prison wine, is made from fruit juices, sugar, and yeast.
In prison, oranges and fruit cocktail seem to be the most easily scavenged fruits, along with anything containing sugar or corn syrup for added boozeyness. Prisoners have been known to use Koolaid and ketchup to add sugars to their booze solutions.
Once the fruit juices and the sugars are combined, prisoners would then add crumbled bread which would introduce yeast to the mixture.
Time and degassing is all that’s left to make pruno.
However, this can kill you
Pruno can Kill You
Because sanitation and sterilization isn’t the best in prison, pruno is actually something that can kill you. Botulism, a toxic byproduct of a certain germ, can be very fatal if consumed. It’s a rare form of food poisoning but very real, and very serious.
If you aren’t in prison, sterilize! Laura did it in the jungle!
How to Make Jungle Hooch
To combat the potential dangers of botulism, Laura Zerra boils the coconut water solution to sterilize any germs that could potentially have contaminated her cocktail. I assume she used additional juices from the sugar cane to increase the sugar in the mix.
Once the coconut water and sugar cane solution was sterilized, she allowed it to cool as to not cook off the yeast.
On the episode, she mentioned the white substance on the outside of the sugar cane stalks was naturally occurring yeast. This was added to the solution after it was cooked and cooled to start the fermentation process.
When the yeast eats the sugars, the byproduct that’s left behind is alcohol.
There you have it… jungle hooch!