Making rubbing alcohol sounds like something you’d need a table full of beakers and glass tubes for, doesn’t it? Fortunately, it’s far easier than most think. Good thing, too!
After all, one of the worst things that can happen to a homesteader or survivalist is having few medical supplies. But if you love being prepared, then you’re going to love this easy recipe to product your own disinfectant. Let’s get to work making some rubbing alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol is a relatively cheap commodity and can be made relatively easily in a modern lab. However, making store quality disinfectant is a dangerous and EXPLOSIVE endeavor. Let’s take the road that leads to far less pain, shall we?
In this recipe, we will be making ethanol rubbing alcohol? Please realize that while this will create the same kind of alcohol found in beer, I implore you not to make the mistake so many blind moonshiners made! This is not for drinking.
Making ethanol has a variety of uses, outside of just medical. Ethanol can be further refined to make a cheap renewable energy source. This fuel can power some generators (with a little tweaking) and even be refined as a replacement for diesel. How cool is that?! Of course, that would require you to make large quantities of it, thus depleting your sugar supply rather quickly.
Alternatively, you could get your own sugar cane and harvest your own small crop. This would simply mean picking up a stalk of sugar cane from your local farmer supply (or online). You will be ready to harvest in about 7-8 months, depending on where you live, of course.
You will need the following:
- Roughly 2 pounds of white sugar (preferably not bleached).
- 1 gallon of water, purified if possible.
- 2 empty water jugs made of HDPE plastic (simply look at the mark on the bottom of the jug), or a glass drinking jug.
- 1 jar of simple baker’s yeast.
- About 2 ½ feet of coiled copper tubing (not as expensive as you might think).
- A bowl of cold water or ice big enough to hold your container (this is not a necessary step but it helps speed up the process).
- 1 thermometer.
- 1 funnel.
- Duct tape.
As with any process like this, make sure all of your items are sterilized and cleaned. Boiling water works just fine.
To get started, add 3 teaspoons of yeast into the first jug and simply pour in your 2 pounds of sugar. (Be sure to use your funnel.) There is no need to get messy. Now, take your thermometer and hold it under your running hot water from your tap. Simply adjust the knobs until your water reaches 115 degrees, and fill the jug to about 3 inches from the top. This gives the yeast a wider surface area to work with, as well as helps break down the sugars faster. Shake or stir well to ensure that all of the yeast is broken up into the solution.
The Fermentation Process
Image source: YouTube screen capture
Now, put on the lid, making sure not to screw it on enough for an air seal to form, but enough to let the Co2 being created inside the container to escape. Set it in a warm dark place, preferably on the top shelf of a cupboard that isn’t used often. Allow it to ferment for at least 2 weeks. Although you may not enjoy the idea, you will have to give it the ol’ sniff test to judge for yourself if it is fermented enough. The longer you ferment the mixture the stronger your ethanol will be.
Let’s Make Some Ethanol
At the end of the 2-week period, simply remove the solution and pour it into the second container. Prepare a pot big enough to hold your gallon jug, with some room left over. Now, fill the pot with water to the point where it won’t boil over.
Take your jug lid and cut a precise and even hole in the middle, big enough for your tubing. Insert one end of the tubing into the lid and screw it on. From here, you duct tape it down snuggly so there is no chance of the vapors escaping your container.
Turn on your stove to a high point in order to bring it to a boil. Once boiling, turn it down to maintain a low bubble so your water doesn’t evaporate around the jug too quickly. It is best to keep a watchful eye on the water and refill as necessary.
Remember to do the same for the other end of the tubing when attaching it to your other container. Set your other container in your bowl of either very cold water or preferably ice. Adjust how it sits until you are comfortable it won’t fall over. Continue boiling until all of your sugar solution has evaporated and condensed into your second container. This will possibly take a day or so!
If you smell any vapors during this process, then simply add more tape until you are positive there is an airtight seal on both ends. The result should yield a clear liquid that burns blue and clear when lit. Congratulations: You’ve created your first batch of ethanol.
Seal it in an air-tight container, and then shelve for later use as your disinfectant.
I hope this tidbit of self-reliance has bolstered your confidence.
Have you ever made rubbing alcohol from scratch? Share your tips in the section below:
During the peak of the Coronavirus epidemic during the Spring and Summer of 2020, two of the hardest items to find in stores were rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer. Ironically, these are also the two most-needed items to kill germs and stop the spread of the virus. The world simply was not prepared to deal with a pandemic of this scale.
Some believe that the world is in for round #2 as the chilly winter and spring allow the virus to spread even further. December 2020 saw a huge spike in global COVID-19 cases as well as a new variation of COVID that spreads even faster.
In today’s article, we’re going to show you how to make your own rubbing alcohol at home step-by-step using everyday ingredients such as sugar, water, yeast, and some basic supplies. The next time there’s a global pandemic, you won’t have to worry about how you’ll sanitize!
While it may seem a bit unnecessary, learning how to make your own ethanol alcohol can be a fun and educational process for the whole family. With kids out of school, they’re relying on parents more than ever to teach them about the world and show them some basic chemistry. What better way to show your kids how cool science can be?
Table of Contents
Making Your Own Ethanol Rubbing Alcohol
The method that we’ll use to make our ethyl rubbing alcohol is very similar to how old-school moonshine is produced. It uses a simple sugar base, which is then fermented and distilled to produce an alcohol product.
Since we’ll be using simple ingredients and tools, the resulting alcohol should be concentrated around 50%, give or take. If you let it ferment for longer, it may even become strong enough to kill mold (around 70%).
That being said, without a proper still and tools, it’s impossible to measure the potency of the product. You also should not drink the mixture under any circumstances.
How toxic is isopropyl alcohol? Although not toxic in general, Isopropyl alcohol can be toxic if ingested. The effects of ingesting isopropyl alcohol are not always fatal, but can result in injury and even coma.
While a little bit won’t kill you, it’s still a semi-toxic alcoholic beverage that can make you very sick. This recipe is for topical disinfecting use only! Without any further ado, let’s jump right in and make our very own alcohol!
Ingredients And Supplies
First, you’ll need some simple ingredients. Most of these can be easily found in your local grocery store and hardware store. Any ingredients and supplies that you can’t find at the store, you may have to order online.
The total cost of everything should be less than $50. After you source all of the tools, though, you’ll be able to use the same setup to make more batches for a lot cheaper. You’ll only need to buy more sugar and yeast.
- 2 lbs of sugar
- 1 gallon of distilled water
- 1 jar of yeast (can be bakers’ or brewers’ yeast)
- 2 large gallon-sized glass jugs with lids
- 2-3 feet of copper tubing
- 2 large, wide pots
- 1 food thermometer
- 1 funnel for pouring the ingredients
- Lots of duct tape for creating airtight seals
Alright, now that you’ve purchased all of the necessary ingredients and tools, it’s time to pretend you’re back in the Prohibition Era, making stills of illegal rum in the hills! Just kidding, it’s not all that crazy. But hey- it never hurts to have an imagination.
- Take your large glass jug, fill it up with the 2 pounds of sugar and 3 pounds of yeast.
- In a large pot, heat your gallon of distilled water until it reaches 115-degrees Fahrenheit (use your thermometer).
- Once the water is hot enough, use a funnel to pour it into the same jug as the sugar and yeast. Top it off, but leave a little bit of space at the neck of the jug.
- Now screw your top on, leaving it just a little bit loose so that CO2 gas can escape.
- Set it in a cool, dark place where nobody will mess with it and let it sit for two weeks.
- Use a drill to put a hole in the top of the fermentation jug’s lid. It should be just wide enough to insert your copper tubing.
- Insert one end of the tubing and use copious amounts of duct tape to create an airtight seal.
- Repeat step #1 with your second large glass jug. Then, place the other end of the copper tube in the top of that jug.
- Put your glass fermentation jug into a wide pot. Fill the pot with water so that the jug is resting in the center of the water-filled pot.
- Place the empty jug (with the other end of the tube in it) into a similar-sized pot. Fill this pot with ice. The temperature difference will speed up the evaporation process.
- Now, put the pot with your fermentation jug on medium-high heat and boil it. As the water boils, the fermented liquid will heat up and begin to evaporate into the copper tubing. It will travel and drip into the empty jug in the ice pot.
- You will probably need to plan on boiling the mixture like this for most of the day. Keep an eye on it and always add more water to the boiling pot as it evaporates.
- Once all of the liquid has transferred from jug #1 to jug #2, then the process is finished!
Here are some other posts that might interest you:
How To Store Your Ethanol Rubbing Alcohol
Once the process is finished, you should have several quarts of your very own ethyl rubbing alcohol. It might not be quite as strong or effective as the more concentrated, store-bought isopropyl alcohol, but if you’re ever in a bind, it will get the job done and provide an extra layer of security against germs and bacteria.
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My name is Logan, and I’m a 36-year-old dad and small business owner living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.
If I can help teach you a smarter way to clean your house and save you money on unnecessary cleaning tools and solutions, I’ll feel like I’m doing some good in the world! Take it or leave it; my advice is tried and tested.
A modern distillery kind of looks like it belongs somewhere in the Chocolate Factory (maybe adjacent to the “Fizzy Lifting Drink” room?): depending on what’s being distilled, there might be tall gleaming columns connected by a network of tubes, or massive, squat pots that look like giant copper Hershey Kisses. Believe it or not, these pumps and valves and shiny metal fixtures make up the carefully controlled mechanism behind your favorite whisk(e)y. Or gin. Or Strawberry Colada Svedka Vodka. No judgments.
While the history of distilling is actually tied to the history of alchemy—yes, we owe liquid confidence to an ancient mystical science—the basic concept of distilling has always been pretty simple: making a harder alcohol from a lower alcohol base. But why do we have to distill hard liquor? Why can’t we just keep fermenting it to higher and higher ABVs? As often happens in the science of booze, it’s all about the yeast. As yeast eat up the sugars (to make beer or wine, e.g.), they create alcohol and CO2, delightful waste products. But the more alcohol and CO2 they create, the less sugar there is for them to feed on. And at a certain point (around 14 to 18% ABV), the alcohol levels become toxic for the yeast. To create anything substantially “hard,” we can’t rely on yeast. To get high ABV alcohol, we have to actually physically separate alcohol from water using evaporation and condensation—aka distilling.
Because alcohol has a lower boiling point than water (173 F vs. 212 F), distillers can evaporate the alcohol (mostly) by itself, collect the vapors into a tube and use cold temperatures to force the alcohol to condense back into liquid. In all of drinking history, just two methods of distilling have evolved:
Alembic, or “pot distilling,” was the first method in history (first used in alchemy). The “alembic” itself is the big kettle-shaped vessel where the primary fermented liquid, also known as a “wash” (or a “mash”), is heated up. Ethanol evaporates before water, traveling into a cooling tube and back into another vessel to condense. Less water present means higher ABV, hooray! But the ethanol isn’t necessarily alone in there. Compounds called congeners (e.g. esters, tannins, methanol, fusel alcohols) also evaporate during distilling, and can impact the flavor. The art of distilling is making sure you get the right amount of alcohol and any desirable congeners or flavoring compounds into the final product.
Column Distilling came out of the success of pot distilling. By the 19 th century, commercial distillers were looking for a faster distilling method (the pot stills had to be washed after every batch). Robert Stein and Aeneas Coffey separately invented and improved upon the process of “column distilling,” which actually involves giant gleaming columns (they can reach stories high). In column distilling, the mash or wash is continuously injected into the column, with steam constantly rising up to meet it. The steam is programmed to be at the perfect temperature to strip alcohol from the wash and leave undesired compounds behind as it rises up through the column. Column distilling not only requires no cleaning between batches, the structure of the columns (and the ability to have several columns for alcohol vapors to continuously flow and refine through) allows for efficient, repeated distilling—which is why column distilling results in more neutral, higher ABV spirits than pot distilling (think vodka). And while not all column-distilled spirits are repeatedly distilled, some claim to have been distilled as many as 34 times.
Again, however you are distilling, alcohol never evaporates alone. Congeners (tannins, esters, fusel alcohols, and even methanol) can evaporate with it. Cutting is the process by which the distiller separates out these elements, usually through careful temperature and timing control. For instance, methanol (the stuff behind the “moonshine makes you go blind” legends) evaporates at 148.5 F, so a distiller can conclude any liquid that shows up before 173 F (the boiling point of safe, delightful ethanol) should be discarded. Meanwhile, fusel alcohols (also known as “fusel oils” for their oily texture) can come at the end or “tail” of the distillation run, and are often discarded (or sent back in for redistilling). The basic cycle of distilling can be divided into the “fores,” “head,” “heart,” and “tail”—also known as “fractions”—with the heart being the most desirable component. The distiller’s work is kind of like a mixture of extreme precision, and no doubt a bit of old school intuition.
If making alcohol had been this easy during Prohibition, homemade hooch would have been everywhere. Recently, I began playing with a product called Spike Your Juice, which was advertised as a way to turn juice into alcohol in 48 hours. It works like this: Pick a juice with at least 20g of sugar per serving, add a packet of specially designed yeast, plug the bottle with an airlock, and wait 48 hours. Just like the fermentation process used in winemaking, the juice’s natural sugar is converted into ethanol, with a byproduct of carbon dioxide. The result is an alcoholic drink with a champagne-like effervescent fizz.
I bought a box of these magic bacteria and started experimenting. The instructions recommend using filtered juices that don’t require refrigeration and aren’t artificially sweetened. But I’m bad at following instructions, and I don’t trust a juice that doesn’t require refrigeration. I grabbed a bottle of pink lemonade, mango, blackberry, and sweet tea from Trader Joe’s. The pink lemonade worked well — after 48 hours, it was quite fizzy, though I couldn’t really taste the alcohol. The sweet tea fizzed a bit, but also didn’t taste “spiked” — it just tasted awful. The mango juice (which wasn’t fully filtered) formed big solid clumps during fermentation. I’m not sure why, exactly, but they were gross, so I filtered them out with cheesecloth before drinking. Again, some fizz, no buzz.
The blackberry juice was the winner by far. It also developed some solids (even though it was very clear juice to begin with), and you’d never mistake it for wine, but it was delicious. Think blackberry Lambic, but with an adjusted price of $1.75 per bottle (64 oz. of juice at $3, $1.50 per packet of yeast, 25 oz. in a wine bottle). This is something I’d make again, and certainly something I’d serve to dinner guests or corruptible children.
The instructions state that you can allow the fermentation to continue longer than 48 hours to achieve up to 14% ABV. It also recommends using Welch’s or Ocean Spray — I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree there. To me, the best part of this product is that you’re free to choose great starting ingredients, like a locally produced cider, or raspberry juice from plants in your backyard. But for the fun of quick, easy DIY booze, I’ll raise my glass to this product!
Scott Heimendinger is the man behind one of our go-to sites for obsessive-compulsive kitchen behavior, Seattle Food Geek, where this post originally appeared.
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For a long time can’t create Alcohol in Little Alchemy? Be not upset, here you will find how to make Alcohol in Little Alchemy with cheats, guide, combinations and walkthrough. You don’t know with what element Alcohol is combined? Then you see below what to do with Little Alchemy Alcohol element on any web-browser, Apple devices, Android smartphones and tablets, Windows devices, Google Chrome or other and where Alcohol uses. Shortly speaking on this page provides to you Little Alchemy Alcohol cheats and guide.
In this simple game the Alcohol can be made with 2 combinations given below. Also the Alcohol participates in 5 combinations for receiving other elements.
See also all other Little Alchemy Cheats on site main page, there you can find simple elements search box.
Little Alchemy Alcohol combinations
What to do with Alcohol in Little Alchemy
In a nutshell, it’s how grapes and grains become booze.
Getty Images / Urbancow
Whether wine, beer or spirits are more your jam, these boozy beverages have one thing in common: All of them contain alcohol, which means that they all have undergone the process of fermentation. Fermentation is a pretty commonly used term in the alcohol industry, and although the overarching concept is relatively simple to grasp, many imbibers aren’t fully aware of the intricacies of this essential booze-creating process.
Alcoholic fermentation, also referred to as ethanol fermentation, is a biological process by which sugar is converted into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Yeasts are responsible for this process, and oxygen is not necessary, which means that alcoholic fermentation is an anaerobic process. Byproducts of the fermentation process include heat, carbon dioxide, water and alcohol. In this case, we’re focusing on the latter.
Humans have been using the process of ethanol fermentation for millennia. The ancient Greeks were known for their mead production, which was produced by fermenting honey and water. In the meantime, though, honey has taken a back seat to other foodstuffs, most commonly grains (for beer and spirits) and grapes (for wine). Additional base products include other fruits, such as berries, apples and so on, rice (for sake) and beyond.
Getty Images / Michael Major
The Difference Between Native Yeasts and Cultivated Yeasts
This is a hot topic among booze creators, particularly within the natural wine community. Native yeasts (also known as wild yeasts or ambient yeasts) are naturally present on fruit skins and in cellars. When a booze producer chooses to let their juice ferment with native yeasts, this means that they’re simply relying on the naturally occurring yeasts found on the raw materials and in the cellar where the fermentation is taking place. When fermentation is done naturally, it tends to take much longer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
When a producer chooses to use cultivated yeasts, this means that a specific strain of yeast is sought out, purchased and added to the raw materials to kick-start fermentation. Yeasts (as with seasonings) come in all different flavors and makeups. Purists will argue that using cultivated yeasts takes away from the authenticity of a raw material, though the fermentation process will generally take much less time and the result is often more predictable and consistent. For these reasons, this is usually the route taken by those producing alcohol in large quantities.
The Difference Between Fermentation and Distillation
Alcoholic fermentation is the process of using yeasts to convert sugars into alcohol. Distillation is a process used to higher-ABV beverages from already-fermented base products. (For example, the distillation of beer wort creates whiskey, while the distillation of wine produces brandy.) All alcoholic beverages undergo fermentation, thought not all fermented beverages are distilled.
Getty Images / mapodile
Other Types of Fermentation
Fermentation refers to any process in which microorganisms (i.e., bacteria and/or yeast) produce a desirable change in a food. In the context of food and drinks, you’ve probably heard of a few other types of fermentation aside from alcoholic and ethanol, including acetic acid fermentation and lacto-fermentation.
Acetic acid fermentation is the type of fermentation that produces kombucha, kefir and ginger beer. It uses water, fruit and sugar, and generally involves a starter culture such as a SCOBY (symbiotic combination of bacteria and yeast).
Lacto-fermentation uses lactic-acid-producing bacteria, primarily from the lactobacillus genus, to break down the sugars in food to create lactic acid, carbon dioxide and sometimes alcohol. The process generally involves combining water, salt and sugar (typically in the form of a vegetable or fruit) in an anaerobic environment. It’s how sauerkraut, kimchi and traditional dill pickles are made. In recent years, more adventurous bartenders have begun experimenting with this type of fermentation to produce complexly flavored ingredients (and brine) to use in their cocktails.
Backyard gardening is a great way to either supplement your grocery store runs, or to provide a huge percentage of the food you eat. Growing fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains not only provides you with healthy alternatives to genetically modified, non-organic foods that you may buy in large chain grocery stores, it is also a great way to connect with nature.
There’s nothing quite like kicking your feet up in a comfy lawn chair at the end of a long day of gardening and sipping a nice adult beverage as you survey your work… but did you know you can grow most of the ingredients to make the alcohol in that beverage?
Isn’t Making Alcohol Illegal?
Before we go further, let me remind you that by and far, distilling hard spirits is illegal in most countries without a federal license — New Zealand being one of the exceptions to that rule (you lucky devils). You could go through the governmental red tape to obtain a license, but who really wants to go through all that trouble, right?
In most places, however, it is perfectly legal to produce beer and wine for your own personal consumption — you just can’t sell it (again, without proper licensing).
What Can I Grow to Make Alcohol?
Before we get to the list, let’s talk about what to grow in general. I would recommend you only grow crops that you will eat. Making alcohol may be a good idea in a grid-down SHTF situation, but if you’re growing something for the sole purpose of making alcohol, you’re missing out. Grow what you and your family enjoy eating so the crop is multi-purposed.
Potatoes – One of David’s Top Ten Survival Foods You Should Grow is the potato — which can be used to make vodka and schnapps. The starches in potatoes will be converted to sugar (using added enzymes), which will then be converted to alcohol. Unlike most root crops where you plant them and wait, potatoes may need to have dirt mounded over them periodically — especially if you’re growing them in containers.
Beets – Yes, the humble beet can be grown to make alcohol. The high sugar content deems beets as a great vegetable source to make some high-quality hooch! Beets are fairly easy root crops to grow, and you can eat the greens, too. Liquor and a salad from the same plant? I would definitely call that a win/win.
Berries – You can make wine and brandy from different berries — raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. The high sugar content in berries will lend to a sweeter flavor, or if left to ferment longer, could mean a higher proof alcohol. Blackberries and raspberries, once established, require little to no tending for them to flourish from season to season. If you’ve ever seen them growing wild, you will understand. Blueberries, on the other hand, require a little more attention.
Apples – Apples are generally used to make hard cider or brandy, but if they are left to ferment too long, they will turn to apple cider vinegar (which isn’t all bad, either). You can also add pears to the apples, or just use pears alone. Depending on the species of apple you get, it may be necessary for you to have two or more trees (at least one male and one female) for them to bear fruit.
Grapes – Obviously, grapes (including muscadines) are used in the production of wine. This is probably the most common legal alcohol produced for home consumption. The thing about grapes is they require lots of work. This is not a crop to grow if you’re a lazy gardener. You’ll need to tend the grapevines constantly.
Rice – Sake is a traditional Japanese alcohol made from fermented rice, and has been traced as far back as the 8th century! While not a common crop for most home gardeners or small-scale farmers, rice is relatively simple to grow, so long as the plants stay wet.
Corn – Who doesn’t like a fresh ear of corn grilled up at a barbecue? You can also use that corn to make whiskey — also known as “moonshine”, “mountain dew”, and “white lightning” amongst other nicknames. Corn is the traditional grain that had been used to produce distilled spirits in the United States since the Revolutionary war!
Other Things to Grow
Dandelion – I know what you’re thinking — “the dandelion weed”?! The answer is YES, dandelions can even be made into wine. Their flower heads are used in conjunction with citrus fruits, ginger and sugar… and yes, people are actually cultivating dandelions intentionally nowadays.
Sugar – If you know anything at all about the production of alcohol, you will know that sugar is the catalyst from which the alcohol is actually made. Some spirits do not need added sugar, some do. The ones that don’t can actually have sugar added to increase the production and the proof of the alcohol. If you grow your own sugar cane, you will be light years ahead of those folks that have to buy sugar in 50 lb bags.
Prickly Pear Cactus – This is one I wasn’t aware of for a long time, but you can make wine from the prickly pear cactus! It is one of the most easily identifiable cacti with its paddle shaped pads.
Hops – Most everyone knows hops are used in the beer brewing process. Most people do not, however, know how easy they are to grow at home! You can plant hops rhizomes (part of the root system that closely resembles a grape vine) in an area that gets full sun, and where you have ample vertical growing space — hops are easy to train to grow up trellises.
There are probably a lot more foods you can grow to make alcohol at home, but these are some of the most common and easiest ones to work with. They are all warm weather crops, so if you’re in a cold climate, you may not have as much luck as someone in, say, the Appalachian region. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for entertainment purposes, only. Distilling your own alcohol is illegal in most countries. The author, editors, and owners of The Prepper Project do not condone the illegal production of distilled alcohol. As far as homebrewing and winemaking are concerned, please check your local and state laws before proceeding. We would hate for you to have to read our articles from prison.
The type of alcohol in the alcoholic drinks we drink is a chemical called ethanol.To make alcohol, you need to put grains, fruits or vegetables through a process called fermentation (when yeast or bacteria react with the sugars in food – the by-products are ethanol and carbon dioxide).
What is fermentation?
Wine and cider are made by fermenting fruit, while fermented cereals such as barley and rye form the basis of beer and spirits.
A drink’s alcohol content is affected by how long it’s left to ferment.
Spirits also go through a process called distillation – where a proportion of the water is removed, leaving a stronger concentration of alcohol and flavour.
What are the dangers of alcohol?
Drinking alcohol in excess can put you at risk of a number of short and long term health harms. For example, consuming too much alcohol in a short span of time could put you at risk of alcohol poisoning.
In the long term, drinking too much too often can increase your risk of developing different forms of cancer and other serious health problems.
The UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) low risk drinking guideline for both men and women is that to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week on a regular basis.
Further advice and information
Arming yourself with strategies and tips can help you or a loved one take small steps towards big results.