Jungle juice

More and more popper enthusiasts are making their own DIY brews at home

These days, people are all about DIY projects. From backyard gardens to homemade bath and body products, we are a generation that loves to create things ourselves. So it seems only natural that folks have begun making DIY poppers.

“Poppers are expensive, and you barely know what’s in them half the time,” David Dancer, an investigative blogger over at Vice, writes. “That’s why some are skipping the sex shop and braving the risks to home brew.”

Poppers (a.k.a. alkyl nitrites) first became a staple in the gay party scene beginning in the 1970s. Since then, hundreds of international brands have hit the market, the most popular being Rush, Jungle Juice, and Amsterdam. They usually range from $5 to $20 a bottle.

Related: Poppers could cause permanent damage to your eyes

Dancer writes:

It’s scarily easy to find instructions online explaining how to produce your own poppers. While some connoisseurs home brew to satisfy their own insatiable cravings, others do so to sell online and at gay events. The process is actually super dangerous, so for the love of God, don’t try it at home. Your renters insurance won’t cover the consequences!

Did you hear that, kids? Don’t try it at home. We repeat: Don’t try it at home.

For his investigation, Dancer talks to Julian Bendaña, the maker of a popper brand called Double Scorpio, which he developed with his biochemist boyfriend.

Dancer explains:

Julian said his boyfriend received an acid burn on his leg at one point, and their first batch amounted to little more than a red, noxious gas. But eventually they found chemistry that worked.

“Once we finally got the formula right we were also the control [group],” Julian explains. “[My boyfriend] opened like Moses commanding the Red Seas, so then we knew they were ready to be put on the market.”

The couple now markets the drug at queer dance parties, leather bars, and online. They’ll also be hosting a popup at an upcoming local orgy.

Related: “Sudden Sniffing Death” Is Now A Thing Thanks To The New Gay Poppers

Dancer spoke to another popper DIYer who asked to remain anonymous.

“I’ve found that different bottles have different effects, and the feeling I got from purchased bottles was steadily moving into solely head rush territory, with none of the libido enhancement and inhibition reduction I was looking for,” he explains. “Even brands I liked in the past were no longer working the way I wanted.”

That seems to be a common complaint among recreational drug users.

So he started experimenting with his own popper formula.

“It’s not hard to end up in a cloud of explosive vapor that also makes you pass out,” he says. But after “about three batches,” he was able to come up with a decent recipe, though he cautions others from doing so.

“Anyone making highly volatile and flammable compounds without much chemistry experience should be,” he says.

“I’ve only had one incident I might label a close call. I added the acid too quickly to a batch that was too cold and the water rapidly froze while the popper came out of it, and the froth caused everything to spill out of the mixing vessel.”

Sounds like a big, hazardous mess.

After finishing his investigation, Dancer says he’s “still hesitant to venture into the homemade poppers circuit.”

“Poppers are easy enough to buy online,” he writes. “Unless you’re hellbent on becoming the queen of gay Etsy, leave the mixology to the pros.”

We concur.

Related: Five Hospitalized After Drinking Poppers. That’s Right, Drinking Poppers.

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  • eireapparent

    So…craft poppers? They’re small batch, artisanal poppers made on a little organic farm upstate this one is seaweed pomegranate and that’s Himalayan pink salt and cabbage, which pairs well with a vest and man bun.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      Why else did you bring up DCguy at all, except for his lefty politics? He hardly seems like much of a “partier” with recreational drugs, etc. – rarely if ever comments on those articles, that I’ve noticed.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      (Sorry, I posted in the wrong place!)

    • Heywood Jablowme

      I like your take on it. Maybe give tours of the, um, distillery? Four free samples / sniffs included. Opportunity to buy a “growler” at the end of the tour.

  • mhoffman953

    This should be good news for DCguy

    • Heywood Jablowme

      I don’t get why you’re picking on DCguy/Cam about this one (although it’s always fun to pick on him!) but I see the homemade popper business being much more appropriate for pro-Trump hillbillies who already have extensive chemistry experience from making methamphetamine products in their trailers.

    • mhoffman953


      The article isn’t even about Trump, yet Trump must be on your mind 24/7

    • Heywood Jablowme

      Why else did you bring up DCguy at all, except for his lefty politics? He hardly seems like much of a “partier” with recreational drugs, etc. – rarely if ever comments on those articles, that I’ve noticed.

      He’s not posting here, anyway – maybe an indication he’s not interested in the subject?

    • mhoffman953


      “Why else did you bring up DCguy at all, except for his lefty politics?”

      Nothing to do with his lefty politics, more to do with his “muh multiple screen name” conspiracies that come across as drug induced

  • Heywood Jablowme

    Another misleading headline? When you read the article it doesn’t look like “more and more” popper enthusiasts are doing this. It looks like a few tried this, and wisely gave up!

  • Geeker

    I’m sure that won’t turn out horribly.

  • Herman75

    Julian and his biochemist boyfriend. I’m just imagining what their skin, and their lungs, and their nostrils and so on look like.

    Enjoy your drugs girls.

    • ColorMeColorado

      its funny, when people wanna put down someone around these hillbilly parts, they call them homo-names. And here its the same way, we denigrate someone by adding on girls or bitches at the end. Thats misogynistic isnt it? And emasculating too.

    • DoubleScorpio

      Hi, Julian here.
      TBH we both look pretty snatched.
      Thanks !!!

  • Danny595

    Stop promoting drug use and promiscuity, Graham Gremore. You’re a horrible person.

    • mhoffman953

      Exactly. Why are they glamorizing drug use in the gay community?

      Regular people who come across this site will think gays are mixing inhalants to get high and have promiscuous unsafe sex. Not a good public image

    • Danny595

      The men who own this site push this pitiful way of life on gay and bi men and boys because they have already invested their lives in it. They want to see others follow down the same path so they won’t feel alone. They pay losers like Gremore $15 or $20 per post to make it look normal and not soul-destroying (which it is).

    • Heywood Jablowme

      You apparently didn’t even bother to read the article, which is hardly pro-poppers. Gremore may be a horrible person (with his “straight guys” obsession) but this isn’t an example of it. And he probably didn’t write the misleading headline, an editor did.

  • Paco

    If you need drugs to enjoy sex with another man, there is something wrong with you.

    • Donston

      Indeed. There’s often either a lack of real sexual attraction to that gender, you have megalomania based fetishes, there’s an extreme discomfort with embracing your sexuality and someone’s body on an emotional level and/or you have a self-destructive streak. I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it sometimes. But I’ve known individuals who can’t do anything sexually without getting high or drunk to some degree. That’s a sign that something is wrong. And it’s shameful that this place (Graham in particular) pretends like it’s all good.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      That’s a very reductive, pseudo-psychological way of looking at it.

      It’s not “sex with another man” in general; it’s one particular kind of sex. (Which is overrated IMO but that’s just my opinion.)

      For a lot of men, the idea of anal sex is very appealing, but the reality is it HURTS LIKE HELL if they don’t have this very minor “drug.” Not everyone has their prostate in exactly the same place.

    • Donston

      Yeah, guys love to use that excuse, but that doesn’t seem to be the actual reason drugs are used most of the time. And it may start off as something that seems necessary but it often leads to addiction or overuse. And many use drugs when there’s no anal involved. My first bf had to use poppers and weed even when we were just making out to “set the mood”. And unfortunately, the majority of my “starter” gay and homo-dominant male friends would do some type drugs whenever they weren’t working. No sex required.

      Though I agree anal sex is kinda middling. I prefer eating a guys ass out. TMI?

    • Heywood Jablowme

      I understand your personal dislike of that, since I’m not a big fan of mj at a personal level (although I think it should be legalized). But I hope you’re not making the absurd argument that poppers and weed are “gateway drugs” – and only in gay men? – to something really dangerous like meth. Poppers are legal and fairly harmless and the occasional hysteria about them – for over 40 years now – never pans out. Mj is legal in more and more states (+ all of Canada). These are very minor “drugs” if they even qualify as drugs at all.

  • Bromancer7

    Jesus Christ, the bitchy queens are out in full force. Why are you all so damned judgmental? If you don’t like poppers, don’t use them. No need to denigrate or insult people that do. What people do in their bedrooms is NOBODY’S BUSINESS. Who needs heterosexuals degrading us when we seem to do a pretty good job of it all on our own. Grow up.

  • RexMovesSlow

    Typical cutting edge gay journalism from cutting edge gays finding new ways to damage themselves. POPPERS CAN PERMANENTLY DAMAGE YOUR EYE SIGHT. As long as we get a quick high, who needs eye site

    • Kangol

      They can also lead to heart attacks if you are on Viagra or similar drugs.

    • Bromancer7

      You know what else can hurt you? Dihydrogen monoxide. Everyone who drinks it dies. Not enough and you’ll die. Too much and you’ll die. Not to mention all the environmental damage it does. Stuff should be banned, it’s that dangerous.

  • Thud Hardbutt

    Oh come on! A great number of us have experienced POPPERS; THE RUSH into your brain & then the story of love you crave to tell, the contact. the pure animalistic need!

    Vive La Poppers #ProperAmyllPoppers

  • Thud Hardbutt

    Oh come on! A great number of us have experienced POPPERS; THE RUSH into your brain & then the story of love you crave to tell, the contact. the pure animalistic need!
    Vive La Poppers


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