A very versatile liquid and one that I recommend we all have is alcohol. It can be bought now in shops but because of the exorbitant taxes put on it by our puritan government it is very expensive to buy. That state will only get worse until, like tobacco, it’ll mainly be bought from the back of a lorry from white van man.
Alcohol has many uses in survival starting with the obvious; getting drunk because you just lived through TEOTWAYKI and want to blot it out as well as, a more respectable, using it to soften the blow and make life more livable. I don’t drink but I can see the benefit of a drink after a hard day slogging in the fields.
It can also be used in a medical environment as an anaesthetic for some of the more major surgical procedures such as limb removal, being knocked out by drink is preferable to the pain of an operation and the alcohol doubles up as a antiseptic. All alcohols are poisons and thus they inhibit the growth of bacteria in and around wounds.
As a fuel it can be used to power cookers, lights and even vehicles. There are many lamps and cookers available now that can be fuelled by alcohol. Vehicles though are a slightly different matter as engines need modification to use alcohol and modern engines are too finely set up to burn that fuel. Like biodiesel older engines and industrial engines are best. Conversion kits can be purchased though which makes life easier.
All in all though buying expensive whisky and pouring it into your lamp is probably not very cost effective. You should keep that stuff for the drinking options. I’ve been looking around and there are many inexpensive kits for making raw alcohol. Sort out the ingredients and make them more sustainable and you can have a ready supply of alcohol suitable for fuel and antiseptic use straight away. It should be an option in your prepping toolkit.
If you do decide to make some drinkable stuff for personal use or barter you need to do a few more steps, nothing spectacular, but enough to distill out the main poisons and stop you going blind and dying which I’m sure you would agree is not a good way forward.
Whatever your requirements alcohol should be somewhere on your lists. Learn it while you can as it won’t be in the shops after an event and like many other things will be a great barter item.