Tuesday, August 4, 2009


My sister and I on a recent long drive discussed the merits of Ethanol in our gasoline. We canvased the fact that ethanol refineries are greater pollutants than oil refineries. We discussed the fact that 10% ethanol seems gives us fewer miles per gallon than un-blended gasoline in our vehicles. We mentioned the many bankrupt ethanol production plants. And we discussed the fact that a lot of taxpayer money is being spent to reduce our food (corn) supply.

"It would never be tolerated if it was the potato."


"...if we had half as many french fries, and potato chips."

"Mashed potatoes."

"Or steak fries cost the same as your steak."

"Yeah, and you didn't get baked potatoes as a side anymore. Potatoes would cost too much."

"What's the name of that stuff the Irish make? The potato alcohol..."

The name, I've now done my research, is Poteen (aka: Potcheen or Irish Moonshine). Poteen was banned by the Irish government in 1661 and has been an Irish export since 1989. Knockeen Hills Poteen is 55% alcohol (and 110 proof).

Vodka, another potato based beverage, is distilled to 95% alcohol before being diluted and sold at 80-100 proof. I also learned about Aquavit, a Scandinavian potato distillation which is brewed to a roughly 45% - 50% alcohol content, although it seems to range from 40-100 proof.

It all sounds pretty high octane to me. I checked on the brewing/proof of corn liquor (aka: moonshine). Although unregulated, because it's illegal and no one's supposed to be making it, corn liquor, according to my internet sources traditionally distills near 80 proof. DIY Ethanol kits are available over the internet -- funny what you can find when you start looking -- and those websites recommend distilling ethanol to a liquid that is 200 proof or 100% alcohol content for fuel. Perhaps my math is off -- but I'm thinking pre-dillution vodka sounds a heck of a lot closer to fuel-grade than the moonshine.

Guard your potato chips, Potatonol might just be the wave of the future.

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