Moonshine is a liquor that has a long history and legal story behind it. While many think of just one type or flavor of moonshine, there are actually many different types and flavors that many of us have never thought about or heard of. This is so anyone who drinks moonshine, though it is illegal, can enjoy a flavor that they will enjoy.
There are many different flavors of moonshine. This is similar to most alcohols. The three main categories for moonshine flavors are: fruity, candy, and dessert. Each of these categories have different flavors that fall under them, so those who drink moonshine can enjoy a flavor they will like.
Continue reading to learn more about moonshine as well as the different flavors that moonshine can come in.
What Is Moonshine?
When most people think of an alcoholic beverage, they think of drinks like wine or vodka. Very few think of moonshine.
Moonshine is a high-proof liquor. It is often produced illegally without the authorization from the government. The name “moonshine” comes from the fact that it is traditionally distilled during the night. This was to evade the notice of law enforcement.
Moonshine was very popular during the time of Prohibition. It was during this time that all alcohol was illegal to consume. Both organised criminals as well as unorganised criminals took part in the distilling and distribution of moonshine during this era.
What Is Moonshine Made From?
While moonshine can be made using any fruit or grain, it is often and most commonly made using corn. Corn was primarily used to make moonshine because it was grown in abundance, and most who distil moonshine will use whichever crop they have a surplus of.
Corn is also most commonly used to make moonshine because it is a great source of fermentable sugar which makes it better to use to make the moonshine.
Moonshine Alcohol Percentage | Moonshine Proof
Moonshine is considered to be high-proof. Usually, moonshine has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40%. This can be higher as some moonshine has an ABV as high as 60% to 80%.
If you are converting these percentages to proof, you need to multiply the number by two. For example, moonshine with an ABV of 40% is also 80-proof.
The alcohol content of liquors such as moonshine are dependent on the distilling process. You will often find that moonshine is made by those who are untrained, so the alcohol content can vary, and the moonshine could have a very unsafe level of alcohol content.
As previously discussed, moonshine can be made using any grain or fruit. Due to this, moonshine can have different flavors depending on what it was made from. For example, a moonshine that was created from a fruit will have a fruitier taste to it.
When the holiday season comes around and you are feeling festive, peppermint moonshine is a flavor that is perfect to add to your drinks. The crisp and fresh taste of peppermint moonshine has been said to put eggnog to shame when it gets to the winter season.
Cherry is a classic flavor for most foods and drinks, and this includes moonshine. This is a great choice of flavor for moonshine. The tartness of the cherry compliments the alcoholic bite of the moonshine very well.
If you have cherries in the jar with the moonshine, you can leave them in. The cherries will soak in the moonshine, and you can eat these moonshine-laced cherries later on.
Apple is one of the most popular flavors when it comes to moonshine. With a variety of apples that moonshine can be made from, you can get many different apple flavors that can range in sweetness and tartness.
Apple moonshine is great for fall parties as the taste from the apple moonshine can go well with other tastes that remind one of the fall season.
Vanilla flavored moonshine falls more under the category of a dessert moonshine. This is because vanilla moonshine can be very sweet.
This flavor of moonshine can be great for parties and for when you want to make your own homemade mixers.
Is Moonshine Legal? | Why Is Moonshine Illegal?
Moonshine is illegal to make in the United States if you do not have a proper license or permit. Only a few distillers have sought out permission and authorization from the government to make legal moonshine.
Without a permit or license, it is a crime to distil moonshine. It is possible, however, to obtain a license or permit in order to distil the liquor legally. You want to ensure you have all of the proper documentation, so you cannot get into trouble if caught making moonshine.
The term “moonshine” has begun to refer to any illegally distilled spirit. Many of the distillers who legally distil moonshine are just using the name as a brand to sell clear alcohol in order to increase their sales.
6 White-Hot Moonshines From Around the World Worth Trying
There are many moonshines and moonshine-like drinks that you can find throughout the world. If you happen to travel to any of these countries or areas, it may be worth your time to try their local moonshine.
Haiti’s rum-like drink is known as Clairin. This drink is made from fresh sugar cane juice. Similar to moonshine, the way Clairin is processed and distilled can vary depending on the community in which it is derived.
In Haiti, there are reportedly more than 500 community-run stills that make their own local versions of the Clairin drink. None of these stills has any dominance in the industry making it a nice challenge to try each version of the drink.
With so many distillers and each distiller making local versions of the drink, Clairin is a spirit that is connected to the island of Haiti.
The Balkans: Rakia
In the Balkans, the solid fermented skins, seeds, and stems from grapes that were used to make wine are used to make Rakia. Fruits that are found in the area are used to make this drink. Some of these fruits include:
A lot of the flavor from the fruits is lost during the distilling process. This drink is typically served in shot glasses and taken in one go.
While the country of Georgia is known as one of the oldest wine regions in the world, the people of Georgia prefer the drink known as Chacha over wine. Similar to the Rakia made in the Balkans, Chacha is typically made using the leftover parts of grapes that remain from making wine.
Unlike moonshine in the United States, Chacha is legally served throughout the country, so you will not have a difficult time finding some to try. Locals often give visitors some of the drink for them to try. This is meant to allow the visitors to experience some of the traditions and culture of the region.
Chacha is poured into shot glasses from an unmarked bottle, and often a toastmaster will lead the drinking during the meals. This can be seen as rude to not partake in.
Raki is a moonshine-like drink that is the national drink of Turkey. Often, you will hear Raki being referred to as “Lion’s Milk.” This name was given to the drink because of the opaque color of the drink when you add water.
Raki is used for many different occasions in Turkey. It can be used to both comfort someone and to start a party. Raki is often served in chilled glasses and diluted with cold water. Raki is often served with food, and it is meant to be drunk with company.
India and Southeast Asia: Arrack
Arrack was at one time the term used for all spirits in Southeast Asia. Now, it is meant to refer to a distilled beverage that is made from coconut palm sap or sugar.
Arrack is often referred to as the oldest spirit in the world. Arrack was one of the ingredients in some of the first punches and cocktails that sailors would drink when passing through modern-day India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. This was back during the Age of Exploration.
Arrack that is unregulated is cheap and easy to find, but you want to be careful. This arrack is often cut with poisons, so it can be a gamble on whether it is good to drink or not.
Poitin is the true regional spirit of Ireland. This spirit is made from whatever is available in the area. It can often be made with:
- Sugar beets
Home distillation of Poitin was outlawed by King Charles II in 1661, and this ban was not lifted until 1997. During this time, the distillation was pushed Underground, which is similar to how alcohol was distributed in the United States during Prohibition.
Moonshine is an illegal liquor that can have many different flavors. The flavors of moonshine are often based on what it is made from. The traditional moonshine we think of is made from corn, but moonshine can be made from any fruit or grain available.
You can find different moonshine-like drinks around the world. It has a staple in some of the histories of these various countries, and it is often a welcoming drink to visitors of these countries.
Tiffany McCauley is a celebrated food and travel journalist and cookbook author known for her engaging stories on culinary adventures and cultural insights. With a background featuring collaborations with notable brands and publications, Tiffany brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to Fanatically Food, where she champions taste, sustainability, and the art of cooking. Read More Here