What is Hooch? – Your Quick Guide to Hooch Definitions

Published Categorized as Beginner Guides

Sourdough bakers might know of hooch. In fact, hooch is a type of liquid that forms atop a sourdough starter and is a common indicator that your starter is hungry. However, the term hooch happens to have other meanings. So what is hooch? Well, stick around to find out!


Table of Contents

Definition of Hooch

Hooch has many definitions. It is a Pieter de, which is a strong liquor illicitly distilled and distributed.

Hooch is also a thatched hut in southeast Asia or a Japanese Uchi, and living quarters as a barracks, a prostitute’s dwelling, a house, room, or a shack.

Hooch is also the liquid on top of your sourdough starter. This is an indicator that you may need to feed the starter.

How to Make Prison Hooch

Hooch is a pruno which is a liquor produced from a mixture of ingredients such as prunes, raisins, milk, and sugar, that can be fermented to produce alcohol often made by prison inmates.

Although prisoners and inmates weren’t allowed to have alcohol it didn’t stop them from trying to make their own! In fact, human beings have been making their own alcohol for centuries.

Hooch, pruno, or prison wine, is an alcoholic beverage that is fabricated from many ingredients, many of which can easily be found in prison. The taste of pruno is described as a bile-flavored wine cooler, which doesn’t sound great at all.

To make hooch a variety of ingredients are gathered by prison inmates, and these might include:

  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Fruit cocktail
  • Fruit juices
  • Hard candy
  • High fructose syrup
  • Crumbled bread

The yeasts used for hooch recipes are naturally occurring. Some of these yeasts are found on bread, hence why it was an ingredient. Prisoners filled their bags with fruits, fruit cocktails, water, sugar, and anything else they could get their hands on. Then they’d warm up the ingredients, and let it ferment for a while.

Within a few days, the process is complete, and the homemade alcohol can contain 2-14% of alcohol. Though, naturally, there is some danger surrounding this cleverly made beverage. The major danger of hooch lies in the unknown amount of alcohol in one batch.

While pruno produces the same effects as alcohol, the fermented ingredients can lead to serious issues.

Side Effects of Hooch

Hooch is very similar to alcohol, meaning that it affects its consumer in the same way, in the sense that it depresses the central nervous system. Therefore, it produces a variety of physical and psychological symptoms.

Some common side effects of hooch include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Impaired judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Depression
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired motor skills and coordination
  • Blackout

The higher the alcohol concentration the more severe the side effects are. Considering the varying levels of alcohol concentration in hooch, it is difficult to determine how often inmates may experience these side effects and to what extent.

Other Meanings of Hooch

While hooch is a term used for fermented alcohol it was also the name of a Dutch painter named De Hooch.


So What is Hooch?

Hooch is an alcoholic beverage often created by prison inmates in hopes to end up drunk thanks to its light effects. However, while hooch has varying levels of alcohol, there’s no telling how much alcohol is produced, which may cause minor to major side effects.

FAQs – What is Hooch?

What is Hooch Slang For?

Hooch is an alcoholic liquor, especially when inferior or illicitly made.

Why is alcohol Called Hooch?

Hooch is short for hoochinoo and is a phrase that refers to a fermented beverage made from dried fruit i.e., alcohol.

Is Hooch a Word for Alcohol?

Yes. Hooch refers to any distilled alcoholic beverage.

Is Hooch Another Word For Moonshine?

Yes. Moonshine is also known as mountain dew, choop, hooch, homebrew, mulekick, shine, white lightning, and white liquor.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *