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Getting Creative with Flavored Moonshine

There are many contributing factors to moonshine’s recent increase in popularity. The biggest factor is probably moonshine’s extreme compatibility with flavoring. This is especially the case when moonshine’s mash is altered to use sugar instead of the traditional corn. Known as “Sugarshine” this new mash recipe opens up a world of options for distillers to get creative with. In this post we’ll walk through some of the most popular moonshine recipes and what makes them great. We’ll also link you to recipes so you can try these flavors out for yourself.

Traditional Corn Whiskey Mash

Of course, purists are still working to perfect the traditional corn whiskey mash recipe. Achieving a perfect run of corn mash moonshine takes a significant amount of skill, experience, and attention to detail. Corn mash moonshine is as rich in history as it is in flavor. This is the style of moonshine that flourished during prohibition. Bootleggers would run this spirit from stills to distributors, constantly running from the law in the process. In fact, it was this cat and mouse game that led to the creation of nascar.

Corn Mash Recipe

  1. Place your mash pot on its heat source and pour in 5 gallons of water.
  2. Heat water to 165 °F.
  3. Turn off heat source when you reach 165 °F and immediately stir in 8.5 pounds of Flaked Corn Maize.
  4. Stir mixture continuously for 7 minutes.
  5. Check temperature and stir mixture for 30 seconds every 5 minutes until the temperature cools to 152 °F.
  6. When the mixture has cooled to 152 °F, stir in 1.5 pounds of Crushed Malted Barley.
  7. Check temperature and stir for 30 seconds every 20 minutes until the mixture has cooled to 70 °F.
  8. When the mixture has cooled to 70 °F, add yeast.
  9. Aerate the mixture by dumping it back and forth between two separate containers for 5 minutes.
  10. Pour the mixture into your fermentation bucket.  It is important to have the bucket, cap, and air-lock. A spigot also makes for easier pouring.
  11. Distill your mash and collect your distillate.

Apple Pie Moonshine

It’s a short list of things that are as American as apple pie. Moonshine, however, has to be at the top of that list. Moonshine played a foundational role in America’s history. From being the centerpiece of the Whiskey Rebellion to prohibition, moonshine was wildly influential. Apple pie moonshine is the perfect addition to autumn and winter festivities. The warmth of cinnamon gives the beverage that sought-after “holiday spice” that has become so popular. Many families emphasize pies at this time of year as well, making apple pie moonshine a welcomed novelty.

Apple Pie Recipe

  1. Brew or purchase 1 quart of “Sugarshine.” This is moonshine distilled from a mash that ferments sugar instead of corn or grain.
  2. Add 3 cans of frozen apple concentrate to your moonshine.
  3. Add 8 cinnamon sticks.
  4. Add 1 cup of brown sugar.
  5. Let the mixture steep for 1-7 days before enjoying.

Rye Whiskey Moonshine

A fantastic deviation from the traditional sweetness of a corn mash recipe is to be found with rye. The spiciness of a rye goes somewhat against the grain of the typical American palette. With roots stretching into Germany, rye whiskey moonshine is an opportunity to get a sense of the flavors that were important to our ancestors. It’s popularity wasn’t exclusive to pre-American distillers, however. During prohibition there were some bootleggers in the mid-west that stuck to the tried and true rye recipes they had inherited.

Rye Recipe

  1. Heat water to 70 degrees and then mix in malt barley, malted rye and flaked rye. While stirring the mixture slowly heat to 160 degrees (raise temperature 5-10 degrees every 2-4 minutes).
  2. Keep mixture at 160 degrees stirring constantly for 1.5-2 hours to convert starch into fermentable sugar and dextrin.
  3. Filter off liquid and place into fermentation device and allow to cool to 70- 80 degrees. Immediately pitch one packet of whiskey yeast.
  4. Stir liquid for 1 minute then cover and seal with a airlock.
  5. Mash will take 5-7 days to ferment.
  6. After fermentation is complete pour into the still, filtering it through a pillow case or strainer and cheesecloth to remove all solids.
  7. Distill rye whiskey at no more then 160 proof. Distilleries will usually do a stripping run then spirit run to produce a quality rye whiskey. After distillation rye whiskey distilleries will proof down to 125 proof and put in a new whiskey barrels for two years. Alternative to whiskey barrels can be oak chips and or oak spirals for the hobbyist.

Sweet Tea Moonshine

Moonshiners love history. Sweet tea is a beverage with almost as much history as moonshine itself. Not only that, but sweet tea moonshine is actually closer to the original form of sweet tea than modern sweet tea. Sweet tea actually got its start as green tea, mixed with ice and sugar. These ingredients were all considered luxury items at the end of the 19th century, making sweet tea more of a status symbol than a refreshing beverage. When prohibition hit, there was only one way to add an edge to that status; booze up your sweet tea with some moonshine. Once WWII set in, Americans no longer had access to green tea. This left black tea from British-controlled India as our only option, leading to the beverage’s modern form. If you want a true-to-history glass of sweet tea, it’ll take a dose of moonlight.

Sweet Tea Recipe

  1. Brew or purchase 1 quart of “Sugarshine.” This is moonshine distilled from a mash that ferments sugar instead of corn or grain.
  2. Bring 4 cups of a water to a boil.
  3. Add 8 bags of black tea. (Alternatively, use green tea)
  4. Steep for 5-7 minutes depending on strength preference.
  5. Add 12 tablespoons of sugar to the tea.
  6. Mix tea mixture with moonshine, stir for 1 minute.
  7. Enjoy!

Oak Infused Moonshine

We’re getting into semantics here, but traditional moonshine is simply illegally distilled whiskey. Age that in oak barrels, and you have a product that is indistinguishable from whiskey. By infusing you moonshine with oak you get a very similar product. Infusing with oak chips is a shortcut to oak barrel aging as it increases the surface area of oak that the spirit comes in contact with. Whiskey got its start as a medicine distilled by monks in monasteries for various ailments like colic. In the 16th century, whiskey began being distilled for recreational purposes and it was off to the races from there. If tax legality is ignored, one could argue that the roots of whiskey is also the roots of moonshine. From a production standpoint they are the same thing. Moonshine is simply the tradition of distilling these same spirits under the nose of the government. If you’re looking for a historical taste from your home-distilled spirit, what better than whiskey?

Oak Infused Recipe

  1. Follow the corn whiskey mash recipe.
  2. Add oak infusion spirals to each jar. (Oak chips can also be used)
  3. Let sit for 6 weeks to complete infusion.
  4. Enjoy!

There are few things more satisfying than creating something that you get to enjoy. This is why gardening is so popular or even just cooking from scratch. Home improvement, sewing, quilting, the list goes on. Distilling your own spirits is no different. What’s more is that you’re creating a product that is especially social in nature. It feels great to share your creations with friends and family, especially if you’ve applied some of your own creativity. Making moonshine is also a great way to connect to the efforts of individuals from ages past. History is always a fun thing to explore, especially if you can get hands on. By firing up a still at home and making an age-old spirit you can a view into the lives of people from not just hundreds, but thousands of years ago.