Document 84073

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By Katie Coleman
Is there anything more Southern than moonshine?
With a rich history in North Carolina and NASCAR, the
illicit spirit is making an explosive comeback. But be
warned – this is not the same moonshine made from
a still hidden in a barn. Brands like Midnight Moon
have brought moonshine to a whole new level.
White lightning, catdaddy, hooch, white dog, whatever you call it, everyone is familiar with some form
of moonshine.
“In Eastern North Carolina, traditional moonshine
was made from apples. It was called applejack,” explained Trace Cooper. Cooper is the Mayor of Atlantic
Beach and owner of Arendell Room, a cocktail bar in
downtown Morehead City. “You can take anything that will
ferment, grains, fruit, anything else, and distill it and get a liquor,”
he said. Eastern North Carolina moonshine was more of an apple
brandy as opposed to a corn whiskey.
Each region in the state had its own kind of moonshine based on
what was readily available.
“There’s always been this tradition of making ‘shine, whether it’s
applejack in the eastern part of the state or corn liquor in the western
part of the state,” said Cooper. “There’s a history of distilling here.”
North Carolina has a rich history in distilling, and that’s part of the
reason why moonshine is making such a glorious comeback. The
nostalgia factor, from the packaging to the Junior Johnson NASCAR tie-in, is one of the reasons why people are giving this historic
industry a second chance.
Midnight Moon, a North Carolina moonshine based in Madison,
is packaged in mason jars, like traditional moonshine. The company also uses the family recipe of Junior Johnson, NASCAR Hall of
Famer and moonshine bootlegging legend. Johnson’s family operated a still, and he ran the liquor. But Johnson was never caught,
mainly because the authorities couldn’t catch him.
“This was a time when the police didn’t have helicopters. If you
could outrun them down a country road, you got off scott free,” said
Cooper. The drivers are the ones who became famous, and that’s
where NASCAR got its first round of drivers.
The new moonshine industry is gaining traction by offering a variety of flavors. Midnight Moon offers six, apple pie, cherry, strawberry, blueberry, cranberry and blackberry.
“Once they went to the flavors, it has really caught on. It’s much
more approachable,” said Cooper.
The fact that moonshine was illegal is also a driving force in the
a coastal magazine for women
popularity. These flavored spirits are stronger
than other distilled spirits.
Cooper explained, “A blueberry vodka is going
to be distilled three or four times and made to be
much smoother. The point of this stuff is to be a
little bit rough and be able to taste the alcohol;
which, to me, is one of the reasons why it has
caught on.”
Denny Shrock, bartender and general manager of Arendell Room, said the flavors of moonshine make the spirit more fun. He said that because of how hot (alcoholic) the moonshine is,
some aren’t sure of what to do with it.
“Because they are hot and you can taste the alcohol,
you need to mix them with something that’s a little more thick to
balance out that alcohol flavor, but still not take away too much of
the flavoring of the moonshine.”
Shrock took advantage of this opportunity with moonshine when
he came up with the Harvest Moon cocktail. This fall-inspired drink
features Midnight Moon Apple Pie Moonshine.
Harvest Moon
Add to a shaker:
1.75 oz. of Apple Pie Moonshine
.5 oz. of Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
2 teaspoons of pumpkin butter (apple pie mix works if you don’t
have pumpkin butter)
Splash of cream
Add ice, shake, and strain into a martini glass. Add a fresh
nutmeg dusting on top.
He also decided to make a cocktail with the Midnight Moon Blueberry Moonshine.
Midday Blues
1.5 oz. of Blueberry Moonshine
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
Fresh Blueberries
Add the moonshine to a highball glass with ice. Top with freshsqueezed lemonade and add blueberries for garnish.
Arendell Room sells both of these cocktails, or you can make
your own at home.