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Damn Sure Better than Rain: National Moonshine Day

Today (6.05) is National Moonshine Day. Once known as the domain of rednecks and hillbillies, moonshine’s appeal expanded into hipsters over the last few years. If all three of those demographics lack appeal for you, fear not. NoDef spoke with Cane & Table’s Nick Detrich, the People’s Publican, to learn about the meat of the matter, not the marketing.


Detrich says that the booze has many names like hooch, mountain dew, and white whiskey. Yet, the concept is simple. “Historically, it’s a high proof corn mash distillate made illegally, and most often associated with Appalachia,” he explains.


The expert notes that the beverage was popularly consumed during prohibition which ties into the folklore behind its name. Detrich elaborates, “Legend is that because it is illegal, it must be made under the cover of darkness and the only light that one can work by is moonlight.”


However, libation’s legend also means that in the contemporary era, customers might be paying for the myth. “Today, it is mainly a marketing term that applies to white whiskey. Traditionally, it has been high proof, but now you can get it as low as 80 proof.”


Still, there are several high proof options on the market today, many sold as “white lightning.” Detrich approves of that moniker. “White Lightning is a more appropriate name because it conveys the sense of immediacy that you have with consuming the straight spirit. It is not rested at all. It is made to be drank to get drunk.”


For those looking to experiment with moonshine, Detrich offers a recipe from his partner Kirk Estopinal of Bellocq. The cocktail uses an Irish, barley based liquor that is still illegal across the pond.


Nana Ester

  • 1.5oz Red WIne (Heartier e.g. Cabernet, monastrell, etc.)
  • .5 Knockeen Potcheen Irish Moonshine
  • .75 Lemon
  • .75 1:1 SImple
  • 2 dashes orange bitters.

Combine ingredients in a shaker tin and shake well. Fine strain into a chilled Cocktail glass and finish with a lemon peel.

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Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde


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Alexis Manrodt

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