Got Moonshine? Here's 10 Cocktails You Can Make
Whether you call it white lightning or the real mountain dew, there's one hooch that's been hitting the spot for over a century.
READ: Celebrate National Absinthe Day: Cocktails to Make With the Once-Forbidden Spirit
Some may assume moonshine is nothing more than cheap, underground whiskey from down south, but this crystal-hued spirit is being savored now more than ever. Time magazine is reporting that moonshine, defined most commonly as simply an “illegal spirit,” is growing steadily in popularity. Though it's been distilled in backwoods Appalachia since the 1800s and mostly produced in secret, things started to change once the recession hit in 2008, and according to Time, several states “looked for ways to generate employment and keep tax revenue rolling in” by loosening laws regulating distilleries.
So what makes moonshine stand out from the pack of other clear liquors? You can credit that to its distinct flavor.
“Unlike vodka, in which the source grain is often purposely purified to a vanishing point, white dogs are pungently fragrant, with a chewy sweetness to them,” says the New York Times.
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And with a variety of white whiskeys readily accessible, mixologists are increasingly experimenting with smooth drinks that pack a pungent punch, keeping patrons coming back for more.
NPR notes that most states still prohibit home moonshining, but fortunately, several professional distilleries are offering this once completely-forbidden spirit to those ready to shake up their happy hours.
Don’t know what to do with that jar of moonshine? We have 10 tasty cocktail recipes to better acquaint you with this American favorite.
1 ¾ oz. Hudson New York Moonshine Corn Whiskey
1 oz. Antica Sweet Vermouth
½ oz. Cointreau
3 dashes orange bitters
1 lemon twist
Stir the first four ingredients with ice and strain, up or over fresh ice, into rocks glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
(Whiskey Park in New York City.)
½ oz. Tito’s Vodka
½ oz. Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
½ oz. limoncello
equal parts Sprite and soda water
fresh thyme sprigs
Place the spirits and lemon juice in a shaker. Strain into a mason jar. Top with Sprite and soda water. Garnish with thyme sprig and lemon slice.
(Chef’s Garden Restaurant at Crystal Springs Resort in New Jersey. Photo courtesy of Lauren Scrudato.)
Moonshine and Peaches
1.5 oz. STILLHOUSE Original Moonshine
2 oz. ginger beer
.5 oz. sweet and sour cocktail mixer
.5 oz. peach juice
.5 oz. cranberry juice
6 mint leaves, torn
3 peach wedges, skin removed
Place all ingredients, except ginger beer, into shaker with ice. Shake to bruise mint and peaches. Add ginger beer and swirl to avoid breaking down carbonation. Pour into mason jar and serve.
RECIPE: The Pot Pie Made With Peaches … And Beer
(Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in California.)
1.5 oz. Troy & Sons Platinum White Whiskey
.5 oz. Aperol
1.5 oz. fresh pressed watermelon juice
.75 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. simple syrup
1 watermelon slice
Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Pour into a mason jar. Garnish with fresh rosemary and a watermelon slice.
(Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach.)
Pink Moon Lemonade
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups moonshine
½ cup grenadine syrup
thin slices of lemon
Put the water and sugar in a small pot over medium heat, and heat until the sugar has dissolved and the water starts to clear, stirring occasionally so as not to burn the sugar (the mixture does not need to boil). Let cool. In a separate bottle, combine lemon juice, strawberries and moonshine with your syrup, and stir. When ready, pour over ice and add slices of lemon.
(Cornelia Guest of Cornelia Guest Events.)
1 part white rum
1 part pineapple juice
1 part grenadine
moonshine-infused maraschino cherries
Mix white rum and pineapple juice together. Add grenadine. Finish by adding moonshine-infused maraschino cherries.
READ: 5 Classic Cocktails You Should Know How to Make
(Andrea Correale, celebrity caterer and founder of Elegant Affairs Catering.)
2 oz. Dutch’s Sugar Wash Moonshine
10 mint leaves
2 lime wedges
1 Tbsp. sugar
Muddle mint, lime and sugar in a pint glass. Combine with shaker full of ice and add moonshine. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and pour into a highball glass. Top with club soda.
(ABC Cocina in New York City.)
2 oz. Stillhouse Original Moonshine
3 oz. tomato juice
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and black pepper to taste
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Tabasco
Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a glass. Garnish with lemon wedge, celery stalk, or green olives.
(Mixologist Sam Spohr of Bludso’s in Los Angeles.)
1 oz. Dutch’s Sugar Wash Moonshine
¾ oz. Dutch’s Peach Brandy
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
3 dashes orange bitters
1 egg white
Add all ingredients (except orange bitters) in a cocktail shaker and shake. Add ice and shake again. Pour into pre-chilled coupe glass and finish with 3 drops of orange bitters on top, making a triangle. Garnish with cherries.
(Mixologist Ivan Mitankin of Bathtub Gin in New York City.)
Blackberry Mint Julep
fresh mint leaves
2 sugar cubes or ½ oz. simple syrup
1 oz. Sugarlands Shine Silver Cloud Moonshine
1 oz. Sugarlands Shine Blockaders Blackberry Moonshine
1 fresh mint sprig
Muddle mint leaves and sugar in glass. Add moonshines to mint and sugar. Fill glass with ice. Stir well and garnish with mint leaves.
(Sugarlands Distillery in Tennessee.)