England Circa 18th Century – The origin of the word as we know it today comes from England in the 18 th century. It’s meaning derives from the notion of light without heat, or light from the moon. It meant illicit or smuggled liquor. Moonshiner was a term that described any persons doing illegal activities under the cover of darkness. It could mean anything – robbery, burglary, grave robbing.
- 0.1 What is the slang moonshine mean?
- 0.2 Why do they call moonshine spirits?
- 0.3 Who invented moonshine?
- 0.4 Was mountain dew a moonshine?
- 0.5 Is moonshine derogatory?
- 1 What is the blue stuff in moonshine?
What is the slang moonshine mean?
While moonshine can simply be a synonym for moonlight, it’s often used as slang for bootleg (or illicit) whiskey, as well as a colorful way to say ‘nonsense.’ For example, you could say, ‘I listened to her speech, but I finally decided everything she said was nothing but moonshine.’ This ‘without substance’ meaning is
Why do they call moonshine spirits?
The History of Moonshine in the United States Inspection of Homemade Moonshine Moonshine has played an important role in American history. In fact, moonshine wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for American history. Mankind has produced alcohol for thousands of years. However, the American government was one of the first major governments in the world to tax and control the alcohol industry.
The moment the government started to tax and control alcohol was also the moment the moonshine industry began. The term “moonshine” comes from the fact that illegal spirits were made under the light of the moon. In every part of America, early moonshiners worked their stills at night to avoid detection from authorities.
The United States started taxing liquors and spirits shortly after the American Revolution. In the years following the Revolution, the United States was struggling to pay the bills of the long war. Taxing liquors and spirits was an effective way to generate revenue for the government.
In the early frontier days of American history, moonshine wasn’t a hobby: it was a part-time job, Many farmers relied on moonshine manufacturing to survive bad years. Low-value corn crops could be turned into high-value whisky. Back in those days, Americans hated paying liquor taxes. They hated taxes so much that revenuers, the government agents who came to collect taxes, were often attacked, tarred, and feathered when they came to visit.
The tension between the government and its citizens eventually boiled over into a conflict called the Whisky Rebellion, which began in 1791 during George Washington’s presidency. Although the Whisky Rebellion was a violent resistance movement, fewer than 15 people were killed throughout the entire conflict. To suppress the rebellion, George Washington led a coalition of 13,000 militia troops into western Pennsylvania – which was the center of the rebellion and America’s frontier country at the time.
Washington successfully suppressed the Whisky Rebellion. This marked an important point in U.S. history because it proved that the newly formed country could suppress violent uprisings within its own territory. But, ultimately, the rebels were successful because in 1801 Thomas Jefferson and his Republican Party repealed the tax to widespread public support.
During the Civil War, the American government once again imposed excise taxes on its citizens to fund the war. Revenuers and IRS officials cracked down harshly on moonshiners, leading to many violent conflicts throughout the country. During the Whisky Rebellion, moonshiners were portrayed as heroes standing against an oppressive government.
After the Civil War, that attitude shifted. Many now saw moonshiners as violent criminals. In 1920, moonshiners across the country rejoiced: Prohibition was passed across the nation. Legal alcohol was no longer available anywhere. Overnight, illegal liquor became one of the most profitable businesses in America.
Organized crime took over the moonshine business and distillers sprung up across the country to keep up with demand. Producers began to sell watered-down moonshine based on sugar instead of corn. Speakeasies – complete with hidden doors, passwords, and secret escape routes – could be found in every city in America.
The good times couldn’t last forever for moonshiners. In 1933, Prohibition was repealed and the moonshine market dwindled to a shadow of its former self. Today, moonshine is viewed much differently than it was a few decades ago. Only a few developed countries in the world let residents legally produce their own home-brewed spirits.
New Zealand, for example, allows home distillation for personal consumption but not for private sale. Whether producing or running a clandestine distillery, you’re sipping on American history every time you pour yourself a glass of moonshine. : The History of Moonshine in the United States
What does moonshine have to do with the moon?
Harvest Moon | Forget Everything You Know About Moonshine If you were born in Eastern Kentucky like I was, you might have become acquainted with moonshine at a young age, wondering, like I did, what that mysterious clear liquid was sloshing around in a mason jar every time you opened the freezer.
My father told me to stay away from what he called “white lightning,” that if I drank it, it would probably put unwanted hair on my chest. I didn’t need convincing: Before I reached the double digits, he let me smell the contents of the jar. Needless to say, I recoiled instantly, thinking: Who would drink this? The answer, of course, ranges from whiskey lovers to cocktail fiends, with moonshine becoming increasingly popular over the last decade, outliving its reputation as a potent liquor that could leave you dead, blind or paralyzed.
So what exactly is moonshine, and how did it go from one of the most illicit liquors in the United States to one winning the hearts of mixologists and craft distillers? Moonshine purists define the spirit as a homemade, unaged whiskey, marked by its clear color, corn base and high alcohol content—sometimes peaking as high as 190 proof.
Traditionally, it was produced in a homemade still and bottled in a mason jar. Scottish and Irish immigrants, many who settled in the southeastern throngs of the country, first brought moonshine to the United States in the 18th century. The spirit quickly became a mainstay of Southern culture. But just as its popularity crested, so too did the government’s interest in taxation.
It was Alexander Hamilton who imposed a tax on whiskey production in 1791, making any untaxed moonshine production illegal. Whiskey drinkers avoided taxation by making and buying moonshine at night, under the cover of darkness and the light of the moon—which some suspect gave rise to its name.
- Just as Prohibition led to a rise in underground bars in the 1920s, the illegalization of untaxed moonshine production spawned generations of illicit whiskey producers for the next two-hundred years.
- Not only was it produced illegally, but oftentimes it was done poorly, too—only contributing to its bad reputation.
That’s because it’s not easy to make. “Moonshine is one of America’s greatest spirits, but it’s really hard to make exceptionally well because it’s unaged,” moonshine maker Taras Hrabowsky explains. “With aged spirits, oak barrels are used to correct flavor notes.
It gets tricky to make moonshine that stands on its own, without the dominant oak characteristics that we usually think of when drinking a whiskey. When you can find the good stuff, you’ll know why people love it.” Hrabowsky should know. He’s part of a growing movement that’s putting good—and legal—moonshine on the map.
Although it’s still illegal to distill alcohol without a distilled spirits permit, mainstream liquor companies are reinventing the spirit, making their hooch in distilleries and marketing it to the masses. Of the new-age brands, a few stand above the rest.
Buffalo Trace Distillery in Kentucky creates a moonshine called White Dog, a moniker reflecting a colloquial nickname for the drink. With a sweet vanilla finish, it honors the first moonshine pioneers who distilled the clear and unaged spirit with a hint of sweet corn. Midnight Moon, inspired by the famous moonshiner and NASCAR driver, Junior Johnson, is produced by North Carolina’s Piedmont Distillers, the state’s first legal distillery since Prohibition.
Ole Smoky, Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distiller, has a loyal following for its inventive flavors (apple pie and sweet tea) bottled in mason jars. (See the recipe for apple pie moonshine here.) In Brooklyn’s Pfizer building, you’ll find Hrabowsky’s Standard Wormwood Distillery, whose product is made with equal parts corn and rye, as opposed to the traditional Southern moonshine made strictly from corn.
Hrabowsky and co-founder Sasha Selimotic prefer “the peppery spice rye delivers on the finish.” The pair hopes to make moonshine a mainstay among the city’s best bars, and it’s working. Hrabowsky’s favorite Brooklyn establishment, Montana’s Trail House, features a cocktail dubbed Dream of a Mountain, which is served in a smoked glass replete with a spicy mix of Standard Wormwood Distillery’s moonshine, honey and orange liqueur, Aperol, and Angostura bitters.
Over in the East Village, The Wayland serves up an apple-spiced moonshine cocktail called I Hear Banjos. Although Hrabowsky believes the future of moonshine is unpredictable, he is delighted to see an uptick in craft distilleries pushing the boundaries to create sipping moonshines, eschewing a new era for the spirit. : Harvest Moon | Forget Everything You Know About Moonshine
Who invented moonshine?
history of moonshine In the South, tracking down and drinking moonshine is a rite of passage. Whether it’s the booze’s rebellious history or its dangerous reputation. Moonshine has cemented a place in the culture at large. Moonshine defines as “whiskey or other strong alcoholic drinks made and sold illegally.” With that definition, it may be confusing to walk into liquor stores and find booze labeled as moonshine.
Part of the problem lies in the lack of federal requirements for labeling something as moonshine. Unlike whiskey, which you must from grain, distilled and bottled at a certain alcohol content, and aged in oak, ‘shine has no equal. Like vodka, you can make it from anything fermentable: fruit, sugar, grain, or milk.
Like vodka, there’s no upper limit on its alcohol content. Unless you want to describe it as white whiskey on the label, you can make it any way you please. So, despite what you might have read in the OED, legally made hooch labeled “moonshine” is all over the place.
- Despite its super Southern connotation, hooch isn’t only a Southern drink.
- The term moonshine has been around since the late 15th century.
- But, it was first used to refer to liquor in the 18th century in England.
- The American roots of the practice have their origins in frontier life in Pennsylvania.
- Also, other grain-producing states.
At the time, farms with grain mills would distill their excess product so that it wouldn’t spoil. Back then, whiskey was even used in some places as currency. history In 1791, the federal government imposed a tax on liquor made in the country, known as the “whiskey tax.” For the next three years, distillers held off the tax collectors by less-than-legal means.
- This brought a U.S.
- Marshal to Pennsylvania to collect the taxes owed.
- More than 500 men attacked the area’s tax inspector general’s home.
- Their commander was then killed, which inspired a protest of nearly6000 people.
- The tax repealed in 1801, and the events from the decade prior came to be the Whiskey Rebellion.
A lot of the lore and legend surrounding moonshine is true. Bad batches or certain production techniques (like distilling in car radiators) could result in liquor that could make you go blind—or worse. Some moonshiners claim that these stories were an effort to discredit their work.
- Legal producers differ.
- Either way, the federal government commissioned Louis Armstrong to record radio ads about the dangers of drinking it.
- You should see all the Moonshine we have in our store,
- Don’t confuse moonshiners with bootleggers.
- Moonshiners make the liquor, while bootleggers smuggle it.
- The term bootlegger refers to the habit of hiding flasks in the boot tops around the 1880s.
But, with the introduction of cars, it came to mean anyone who smuggled booze. Mechanics found ways to soup up engines and modify cars to hide and transport as much moonshine as possible. In running from the law, these whiskey runners acquired some serious driving skills.
- On their off days, they’d race against each other, a pastime that would eventually breed NASCAR.
- The two were so closely linked, in fact, that a moonshiner gave seed money for NASCAR to its founder Bill France.
- Another well-known link is Robert Glenn Johnson, better known as Junior Johnson.
- As the son of a notorious moonshiner, this former driver and NASCAR team owner recently partnered with a North Carolina-based distillery to produce “Midnight Moon.” Whether you call it “shine”, rotgut, white lightning, firewater, skull pop, mountain dew, or moonshine.
Its rebellious history and contentious present make it a helluva drink. If you want to learn more about the History of Moonshine, please follow Tennessee Shine. CO.
Was mountain dew a moonshine?
Packaging – A 1950s Mountain Dew advertisement sign in Tonto, Arizona, showing the cartoon character “Willie the Hillbilly” “Mountain Dew” was originally Southern and/or slang for (i.e., homemade whiskey or ), as referenced in the Irish folk song “”, dating from 1882.
Why is moonshine in a jar?
3 Surprising Moonshine Facts | Old Tennessee Distilling Company With its long and rich history in our region, we East Tennesseans love our moonshine. Coupled with its delicious taste, it is something our state is known for and takes pride in. However — like anything deep in tradition — no matter how much we think we know about moonshine, it has plenty of secrets.
The Meaning Behind Those Three X’s
Ever seen one of those cartoons of Appalachian folk holding big jugs marked “XXX”? Those three X’s became an iconic symbol of moonshine — if a jug had that special marking, you knew what was in it. But what is the meaning behind it? Simply put, the X marking indicated how many times that particular batch of moonshine was distilled.
The Reason for the Mason Jar
For people new to moonshine, they might see the classic mason jar as quite difficult to manage, especially when trying to pour it into a glass. However, there’s a reason modern moonshine distillers have stuck to the age-old jar — tradition. In the south, everything is canned, from fruit preserves to green beans to alcohol.
It’s Smoother Than You Might Think
Moonshine has the reputation of “burning” and being hard to swallow. Maybe it’s the high alcohol content. But interestingly, most modern moonshine from distilleries are bottled at 100 proof, which can be lower than many popular liquors like whiskey, vodka, and gin.
Is moonshine derogatory?
Photo: Tennessee State Library and Archives Moonshine is a spirit that goes by a long list of nicknames: white lightning, corn liquor, stump water, skullcracker, wildcat, ruckus juice, and that is a short list. Moonshine, which is most often distilled from corn, has a deep connection to the history of the United States and is seeing a recent boom in popularity.
- John Schlimm is the author of Moonshine: A Celebration of America’s Original Rebel Spirit,
- His book is part history lesson and part recipe book for moonshine cocktails and infusions.
- Digital Producer Chip Walton talked with Schlimm about his boozy research and wrangled some recipes for The Moonrunner’s Manhattan, Smokey Mountain S’more, and Stockcar just in time for the holidays.
Chip Walton: Crazy nicknames aside, what exactly is moonshine? John Schlimm: It’s quite simple. It boils down to – literally – water, corn, yeast and a copper pot still. Those are the core ingredients of moonshine. Of course, these days there are all sort of flavorings and infusions, but it’s really a simple, natural recipe. John Schlimm Photo provided by John Schlimm CW: And it’s not the same thing as white whiskey, correct? JS: There are so many variations. You do see some distilleries calling it white whiskey, but moonshine is really its own separate thing, made of corn, not barley.
I think of moonshine and whisky as close cousins, but they are not the same thing. CW: At certain times in history, the term or idea of moonshine has been seen as derogatory, similar to the way that homebrewed beer was presumed to be of an inferior quality or even dangerous. JS: It was only really derogatory for temperance activists and the authorities.
Certainly, anyone who enjoyed drinking didn’t find anything derogatory about it. But, to your point, in the past there were people who – once moonshine became a huge money maker – would skimp and use certain ingredients that would make it rather toxic.
In the strictest of terms, that’s what might’ve given it a bad name. Today it’s regulated and legal, so distilleries have to follow rules and laws just like any other brewery or winery. CW: You tell us that the history of moonshine is a history of immigrants that revolves around distilling. JS: Absolutely.
The original moonshiners were among the first immigrants to the United States before the United States was even the United States – starting in the 1600s. Continuing into the 1800s moonshine was intertwined with this new and growing country, and right into modern day.
- They were farmer-entrepreneurs, they were artisans, they were adventurers; these men and women embodied what it means to look towards the American dream and go after it.
- After 250 years, they finally achieved the American dream; after everything they have gone through, today their moonshine is legitimate.
In the end, they won. Their legacy is a celebration and embodiment of America’s original rebel spirit. In that way of looking at it, the story of the moonshiners is quite inspirational. Did they break the law? Yes, they did. But that becomes part of what made them folk heroes and fantastic characters that we can look back upon and say that they are part of the roots of what shaped this country. John Schlimm writes that moonshiners also referred to themselves as blockaders, who believed it was their God-given right to produce their white lightning free of government control. The two women seen at right were photographed after being arrested by federal agents for making moonshine near Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1921.
Photo Courtesy – Left and Center: Tennessee State Library and Archives | Right: Minnesota Historical Society CW: It’s never been easy though, both physically and legally. JS: They never had it easy. Certainly in the beginning these were farmers and farm families living in the hollers and back hills of Appalachia and elsewhere in the country.
Times were tough. A lot of times they are characterized as hillbillies and rednecks; those are labels that I dare say they would wear with great pride. But they were smart and quite wise. They discovered that from their fields of corn they could distill moonshine, they could then transport it much easier than the corn itself, and they could make a whole lot more money.
They were berated by temperance activists almost from the beginning. At times, it was illegal or they didn’t want to pay taxes, so the government came after them and tried to chase them down. And, talk about the entrepreneurial spirit, moonshine paved the way for NASCAR. Those same bootleggers that were outrunning the authorities on the weekdays would race their cars on the weekend.
There was a bit of ego involved. Everyone was trying to prove their car was the fastest, and they would race in old cow pastures. Eventually, they formulated that into a structure that became NASCAR, which is now a multi-billion dollar industry. Again, at almost every inch of the history of this country the moonshiners played some role.
- CW: What effect did Prohibition have on their efforts? JS: True to their rebel spirit they did not back down.
- Instead, they mastered the concept of supply and demand.
- Because as soon as the government said people were not allowed to drink alcohol, guess what happened? People wanted to drink alcohol, and more than ever before.
The moonshiners were right there to give the people what they wanted and to take their money in exchange. It made a lot of moonshiners very rich. Law enforcement officers often documented their efforts to capture moonshine equipment including copper stills and tubing, barrels, jugs and tanks. John Schlimm explains, “One surefire way revenuers had for decommissioning a still was to hack holes in it with axes and other instruments.
Another, more dramatic, method for demolishing a moonshine operation was dynamite. They also turned over barrels of mash, flooding the countryside with white lightning.” Photos Courtesy: West Virginia State Archives CW: Prohibition nearly killed off the American brewing industry – at least as far as number of breweries that existed before and after Prohibition.
Did it affect moonshiners in the same way? JS: The laws have always been a bit tricky where the moonshiners are concerned. There were breweries and whiskey-specific distilleries dating back hundreds of years in the U.S. But, you didn’t see actual legit moonshine distilleries because moonshine was still being made in the backwoods and hollers up until the mid-20th century, when it slowly started coming out and became more legitimized.
- Now it seems every week you hear about a new functional moonshine distillery opening somewhere in the U.S.
- While the temperance activists may not have succeeded in the end, they certainly did their damage along the way in creating a stigma wrapped around alcohol in general, but specifically moonshine.
Because it came out of the backwoods, it had that stigma attached to it for a long time, unlike the wine, beer, and whiskey that emerged more victoriously post-Prohibition. CW: What’s the moonshine lifestyle and industry look like today? JS: This is the new golden age of the moonshiners. Moonshine by John Schlimm CW: What is the flavor and sensation of moonshine? How should we enjoy it? JS: Pure unflavored moonshine should go in smooth and transform into a very comforting burn – that beautiful burn that we all love in that very first sip of whiskey or vodka.
It’s extremely versatile in cocktails, much like a good quality vodka. And you can temper that burn pretty easily with the use of mixers, juices or other spirits. As far as flavored moonshine, what I tried to capture in this book is that there are a lot of directions it can go. Mostly what you’ll find in stores are the fruit-infused moonshine – strawberry, cherry, peach – which are a bit sweeter.
Those are the most popular with the most people because it tempers that burn. I have had a lot of fun in experimenting with moonshine infused with onion or leeks or garlic. It’s not so much that you’re going to drink those straight over rocks. They become great ingredients for cocktails.
What is the blue stuff in moonshine?
“All things distilling.for spirited people” – Published Dec 3, 2021 If ever you distil your mash and find that you get a blue-ish colour (and perhaps even a copper/metallic taste) don’t drink it! It is not fit for human consumption. When distilling “faulty” mashes the distillate will start off with a bluish colour and slowly the blue-ishness will turn less blue as you continue to distil.
- These faulty mashes is the result of chemical reaction between the copper of your still and ammonia.
- To explain: Nitrogen is used in many nutrients to allow the yeast to grow and ferment healthy.
- However, too much unconsumed nutrients can also create a problem during distilling.
- The nitrogen (from the nutrients) reacts in an alkaline environment to form ammonia.
The more residual nitrogen and the more alkaline the mash, the more ammonia results. This ammonia then corrodes the copper and results in a “blue-ish distillate which tastes not good at all. “Blue-ish” distillate should be discarded and is not fit for human consumption.
To prevent this: Use less nitrogen containing nutrients and ensure the pash pH is acidic rather than alkaline – easy as that! If you do expect the mash to contain residual nitrogen just before distillation, make sure to keep the pH low (acidic) before distillation. An alkaline mash makes the nitrogen/ammonia/copper problem even worse.
Ideally your mash’s pH shuld be between 4 and 5.5 (use pH test strips to confirm this). After a blue run, just flush all copper with clean water and it will be fine again.
Is moonshine an idiom?
Idiom : All moonshine – Meaning : Total lies Usage : The promises made by the politicians are all moonshines., Click on the alphabet to view idioms starts with selected alphabet. A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z