Akpeteshie

Akpeteshie Akpeteshie local distillation process

Akpeteshie is a homebrewed alcoholic spirit produced in Ghana and other West African nations by distilling palm wine or sugar cane juice. Other names for this drink include apio, ogogoro (in Nigeria), sodabi, keley, "hot" or "hot drink" and "kutukù" (in Nzema). Use of this high-proof spirit is increasing in West Africa, as is the concern over the social and public health problem increased use might entail.

Akpeteshie is generally distilled from palm wine, Raffia palm wine, or sugarcane. This sweetened liquid or wine is first fermented in a large barrels, sometimes with the help of yeast. After this first stage of fermentation, fires are built under the barrels in order to bring the liquid to a boil and pass the resulting vapor through a copper pipe within cooling barrels, where it condenses and drips into sieved jars. The boiled juice then undergoes a second stage of fermentation. The resulting spirit is between 40 and 50% alcohol by volume.

Akpeteshie is not professionally bottled or sealed, but instead poured into unlabeled used bottles. The spirit can be bought wholesale from a brewer or by the glass at boutiques and bars. Although not professionally advertised, the drink is very popular. This is partially due to its price, which is lower than that of other professionally bottled or imported drinks. It's relative inexpensive makes it a drink associated more with the poor, but even those who can afford better quality are said to consume the spirit in secret.

The potency of the liquor heavily affects the bodily senses, providing a feeling likened to that of a knockout punch. Practiced drinkers can be seen acknowledging receipt by blowing out air or pounding their chest.

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