How To Use Alcohol For Survival

Though everyone has their own opinion as to the value of alcohol post SHTF, the fact remains that people will always demand it for consumption, medicine, fuel, and trade.  That’s why when the going gets rough, demand is bound to increase, as supply will diminish.

Since the earliest days of commerce, people have risked their lives in the pursuit of alcohol for consumption and trade.  If a disaster were to cause a breakdown of society, alcohol will likely revert to a form of currency that certain individuals simply must have.

Alcohol will always be a valuable commodity.  For that reason, one would think it foolish not to stockpiling alcohol in some form alongside your other preps.  It certainly would not be a bad investment to secure large quantities of alcohol in preparation for post-disaster survival.  You can trade it, drink it, make fuel with it, and use it medicinally (more to follow).

However, with as is the case with any commodity you store but cannot produce or replace, alcohol may only be a short-term solution to a long-term problem.  If you wish to maximize your efforts in preparation for long-term survival, you must be able to produce a form of alcohol yourself.

As such, your most valuable asset when it comes bartering–and surviving in general–will be your knowledge and skills.  Therefore, whether you choose the route of homemade brewing or distilling or stockpiling the store-bought, you need to know the various applications alcohol can be used for to benefit your survival.

Alcohol Health Benefits 

A variety of store-bought and homemade alcohols have been found to bring some health benefits.

This is, of course, in moderation. Alcoholism is a serious problem that will likely cause many illnesses and death in the aftermath of a disaster when alcohol is in limited supply to fuel addictions. Never ingest methanol, isopropyl, or denatured alcohol, as it is toxic.

Vodka is one spirit that comes with some health benefits.  It can be used to help clear out unwanted toxins in the presence of a cold or the flu.  It can also help reduce inflammation of joints and bones and help with arthritis.  Whiskey is another spirit that has been used for a variety of medicinal applications for centuries.  Studies have found that whiskey can:

  • Decrease risk of diabetes
  • Aid in preventing dementia and stroke
  • Destroy cancerous cells
  • Decrease blood clots
  • Promote healthy cholesterol

Beer and wine also have health benefits of their own.  Made from hops, barley and wheat, beer actually contains many nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, and potassium.  Beer also contains dietary fiber and bone-strengthening silicon, and has been found to boost antioxidants after consumption.

Wine has similar nutritional value and has been found to have many of the same health benefits of vodka and whiskey.

Medical Value 

Various forms of alcohol have been found to have certain health benefits and medicinal applications.  As we have already mentioned, alcohol must always be consumed in moderation, as large quantities serve as a liability to your health.  You must also know what types and concentrations of alcohol work best for medical applications, as some may do more harm than good.

Isopropyl alcohol should already be a part of your first aid kit, especially if you intend to hunker down with your preps at home.  The reason it’s sold in pharmacies and used in hospitals is because it has been proven to have disinfecting qualities.

One form of alcohol that is bound to have post-disaster value in many applications is Everclear.  Everclear is a 100% grain alcohol (not legal for sale in some states) that comes in 151-proof and 190-proof (95% ABV). Stored in airtight glass containers, Everclear will last for years without spoiling or losing its alcohol concentration.  Among the medicinal uses for such alcohol are:

  • Antiseptic agent – topically only (avoid deep cuts)
  • Pain reliever – in small quantities for aching and sore muscles
  • Sore throat – mixed with honey will help alleviate
  • Sinus cleanser – a small dose will clear you right up
  • Herbal tinctures – mixed with fresh or dried herbs for various applications
  • Sterilization – use to disinfect any surgical or medical instruments to avoid infection
  • Mouthwash and toothache alleviator
  • Prevent and treat swimmer’s ear

Alcohol for Fire and Fuel

Ethanol-based alcohol, like that of Everclear and home-distilled moonshine, has properties that make it suitable to burn in various applications.  Fuels like gasoline and propane are bound to diminish in supply when SHTF.  That will make it difficult to keep generators and other equipment running.

Fortunately, ethanol alcohol can be used to power certain engines.  This significantly increases its value as a survival barter item. Keep in mind that anything combustible is dangerous if not handled properly.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, keep alcohol (both bought and made) away from anything that could cause it to ignite.

Powering a traditional engine with ethanol alcohol isn’t as simple as pouring it into the tank and starting it up.  In order it for it to work, the ignition timing, carburetor jet, and idle circuit may all need to be tweaked.  There are aftermarket kits available that dupe yours engine’s microprocessor into allowing the fuel pulse to stay open longer, which may serve to reduce the risk of danger.

Only use alcohol as fuel if you are knowledgeable in what you are doing and confident it will work without fail.  Without getting into the specifics, alcohol can be used for:

  • Engine starter fuel
  • Fuel for aluminum can alcohol stove – eliminates need for denatured alcohol
  • Light source – mixed with kerosene or turpentine and
  • Accelerant for Molotov cocktail – for extreme self/home-defense

Did you find any other uses of alcohol for survival? Share your experience using the comment form below.

emp1new_redThis article has been written by Cody Griffin for Survivopedia.

Written by

Cody Griffin is do-it-yourselfer, and avid outdoorsman. He is a self-proclaimed jack-of-all-trades and his work can be found across the web on several survival, outdoor, and lifestyle blogs. You can send Cody a message at editor [at]

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