Moonshine, y’all!

Week 23 in the Year of Drinking Adventurously! Moonshine!

Sunday, June 5th was National Moonshine Day here in America. A day to celebrate the spirit of Prohibition. When America went dry in 1920, the movement gave rise to an illegal industry that –now legal– has become romanticized in the hearts of Americans.

Moonshine wasn’t invented during Prohibition, but distillers that were just making the stuff for their families and for local sale saw an opportunity to cash in on the demand for illegal booze. Unfortunately, because of the huge and sudden spike in that demand, the moonshiners often added inferior and sometimes dangerous ingredients to stretch their batches. Things like paint thinner and antifreeze made drinking moonshine a real gamble. Ever hear the term “blind drunk?” It was a real possibility!

Now if I’d been on my game a couple of weeks ago, I’d have realized that my visit to Eastern Tennesee, Gatlinburg in particular, left me plunked right in the heart of moonshining country. Gatlinburg is home to Ole Smoky Original Moonshine Whiskey. By the way, Kevin, you could have shared that with me. Thanks for nothing!

Fortunately, that’s not the only place I’ve visited that has a moonshine connection!

I spent a week in the Blueridge Mountains of Southern Virginia last year with an incredible view and a lousy internet connection.  (Not complaining, just explaining.)  The summer had been ridiculously busy and a do-nothing vacation was just the ticket.  Coffee on the deck to watch the sunrise, a daily walk along the mountain roads with the valley falling away to one side, a nightly soak in the hot tub in the moonlight with a beer and nothing but stars overhead, thanks to no light pollution. Idyllic!

Part of the joy of traveling is taking in local culture and cuisine.  And well, in that part of the country, the local cuisine is barbecue and the local heritage is moonshining.  The house we rented was only about 20 minutes from Mt. Airy, North Carolina — home to Mayberry Spirits.  At the time, the distillery was in its “soft opening” stage and only open Friday and Saturday afternoons.  Nevertheless, we had a nice tour from the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic owner and distiller himself. It’s a small operation, making just enough booze to supply the local liquor stores with product.

We were able to sample their main products: Mayberry Moonshine, toasted oak whiskey and toasted vanilla whiskey. IMG_2810 While most moonshine is 80% corn based, Mayberry’s products are sorghum based.  Weird, right?  Maybe, but it makes a unique and deliciously smooth whiskey.  (Even the straight moonshine went down easy, almost like a high-quality white rum.)  Needless to say, I brought home a supply!  So if y’all end up in that neck of the woods, stop on into Mayberry Spirits and have a sip of Carolina moonshine! Careful though!  It’s 100 proof!

Now, how should you drink your moonshine? You can substitute it for whiskey in whiskey-based cocktails or for rum in rum-based cocktails, so instead of a Long Island Iced Tea, here’s an idea:

Appalachian Iced Tea!

In a mason jar, over ice, combine:
3/4 oz tequila
3/4 oz vodka
3/4 oz tripel sec
3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz moonshine
1 oz sour mix
Splash of cola to top it off and stir
Garnish with a lemon slice and drink on your front porch in your rocking chair!

Since Lula is also plunked smack dab in the middle of moonshine country, I expect she had no trouble with this week’s adventure!

52 thoughts on “Moonshine, y’all!

      1. When I was a little kid, it seemed like they were in a whole different world from me… which I suppose they were since I’m a New Englander. I’m pretty sure I had to ask my parents what moonshine was…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. I think its not so much a southern thing as it is a ‘country’ thing. I went to school with guys like that… fixing up beater cars, drag racing, tapping a keg in the woods and everyone bring your own cup. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. That’s not ‘shine. You can’t buy ‘shine in a store. Next time I’m in Kentucky I’ll get you the real, illegal and untaxed version. Sold in mason jars or 1 gallon plastic milk jugs.

    But I’m sure store-bought will suffice in the mean time…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That iced tea sounds amazing!

    I’m off to a music festival on the Isle of Wight this weekend (The Who are headlining again 46 YEARS after their legendary set there!) and have just been getting my booze together. I’ve had maybe three or four sips of Jack Daniels (just to check it’s not gone off… ahem) and I swear it’s gone to my head already… which means the 2 litres I’m taking will probably keep me merry till Christmas!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh that sounds awesome! One of the music channels usually shows the big festival concerts after they’re all over. It looks like so much fun! I’d love to do something like that but my hubs is a bit of a dud! 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahaha! I spent three nights camping out at three back to back Grateful Dead concerts while I was in college. Seriously, that’s what we all felt like. I think I burned my clothes! 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Good god, y’all! You don’t mix moonshine, at least not here. It’s made for sippin’ straight from the Mason jar. And if it’s made right, no mixer is necessary! Have a couple jars in the liquor cabinet right now actually. 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glad you enjoyed your visit to North Carolina; if you ever make it to Coastal Carolina or the New Bern area (home of Pepsi and Tryon Palace, drop me a line and I’ll try to give you “the tour.”

    I don’t drink, but rumor has it that my great-uncle Leroy had a special “fox bait” he kept well-hidden (i.e. locked in the bottom drawer of his dresser.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. One of the first times I went to TN with my new hubby we were taken to some, ahem, interesting places in search of people who had stills and were making moonshine. I’ve not heard of mixing moonshine with anything either. I’ve also been to the Jack Daniels distillery which is in Lynchburg, TN and I’d much rather be drinking some whiskey!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I partly agree, but there is always some part of any whiskey distillate that is uncut and right off the still. It’s just made using better (or not) ingredients that they use in the woods. If it’s right off the still, I say white lightening is white lightening. Only diff is the law ain’t after ya.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Woah! I think I caught a buzz just READING that recipe!
    Reading this made me think of Mags’ Bennett’s “Apple Pie” moonshine on the show Justified – a brew that was literally deadly! The show is over now, but it was one of my favorites. You should check it out if you haven’t seen it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like this series… Once when I was living in a particularly dodgy neighbourhood in London I visit the off license and discovered in a clear plastic 2 lite bottle with a cheap paper label a product called Alkohol for the bargain price of 79 cent… It was obviously catering to the winos and homeless of the area. I was tempted because I am as curious as a cat but I chickened out from actually buying and tasting the stuff

    Liked by 1 person

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