What do you think of when you think of moonshine? Probably multiple images pop into your head of backwoods stills and hillbillies carting it around the Appalachians. The rich tradition of moonshine dates back to the American Revolution and is still alive today.
What Is Moonshine?
Moonshine is a high-proof distilled spirit based from corn meal, sugar, yeast and water. The history of moonshine dates back to the 1700s when taxes were imposed on liquor sales. When the era of Prohibition came around in the states, the illegal production of moonshine skyrocketed. Today the unaged clear liquor is legal & very popular in the state of Tennessee.Tennessee Moonshine
5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Moonshine:
1. It’ll tickle yore innards!
During alcohol prohibition in the US, moonshine was nicknamed Mountain Dew. This common slang for mountain brewed moonshine eventually became the actual name of a lemon lime flavored soda bottled in Knoxville, TN in 1932. The soft drink was originally intended to be a chaser for whiskey.
2. The original bootleggers were British
The term moonshine comes from early British settlers. They used this terminology to describe things that were done at night. The nickname stuck to describe illegal activities that had to be under the cover of nightfall.
3. Moonshine has ties to the origin of NASCAR
During the 1920s when the production of moonshine skyrocketed, hidden distilleries needed runners to transport their product secretly. These runners used cars that looked normal enough on the outside, but were outfitted from the inside with shocks, springs, and high-powered engines. After Prohibition ended, former runners started racing these cars; this eventually led to the creation of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, more commonly referred to as NASCAR.
4. Third time’s the charm
By marking the side of the moonshine bottle with XXX this signified that it had been distilled three times. In other words, it was basically pure alcohol.
5. No aging required
Unlike other liquors, moonshine isn’t aged to mellow its taste and flavor. The amber and golden tones in drinks like whisky come from years of aging in barrels, whereas moonshine – originally made secretly at night and in the woods – was manufactured very quickly. It is known for its clear appearance and kick.
Moonshine has thick roots here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Next time you’re here visiting, make sure and try a sip and see what all the fuss is about!