The stars at night are big and bright...

The stars at night are big and bright...
The stars at night are big and bright...

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Last American Hero

I ran out of my usual spirit of choice, Maker's Mark. I could have made a trip to Bridgeport, but I have it on a definitely strong rumor you can buy liquor in The Limestone Capitol of Texas starting today Saturday and since I'm an official Maker's Mark Ambassador I want to be the first in history to purchase a bottle of it in Chico. They even have my name engraved on a plaque at the distillery in Loretto, Kentucky (That's how you can tell the professional alcoholics from the amateurs).

Since I decided to wait, I broke out something different last night. Genuine (well, as "genuine" as you can legally buy) Carolina moonshine from none other than southern icon Junior Johnson. The NASCAR Hall of Fame member and main character of the movie Last American Hero now teams with Piedmont Distillers and produces some mighty fine corn liquor under the banner Midnight Moon!

It's flavor reminds me of Tito's Texas Vodka, which is also made from corn in small batches, but it's quite a bit smoother with less heat and a longer, sweeter aftertaste. It must be something in the mash that makes the difference in flavor since they are both essentially the same thing.

It's been a while since I've tasted moonshine. The last one Georgia Moon, was quite a disappointment. It tasted watered down even drinking it straight.

Now to be clear, or really muddy up the water, here's today's liquor lesson. Most liquor IS watered down to lower the proof (and the tax). All alcohol is taxed by the alcohol content. Most come out around 130 - 140 proof or higher and they add water at bottling to reach the desired alcohol content, usually 80 proof. The exceptions are bottles marked "barrel proof" that usually are found on small batch whiskey and specialty liquors like Bacardi 151, Everclear, ect. But you can lower the proof without completely killing the flavor, unfortunately Georgia Moon hasn't learned that artform just yet.

Now I have had some authentic moonshine in the past. It was NOT watered down and there was no mistake about it. I took a swig out of the milk jug being passed around and looked like Milburn Drysdale after a swig of Granny's Rheumatiz Medicine. When I asked what proof it was, the old boy that made it took a sip then spit it into the campfire.

The fireball looked like a nuclear test. I'm pretty sure you could see it from orbit, which is ironic since that stuff was used as rocket fuel by Homer Hickam.


el chupacabra said...

Holy Smokes Ghost Rider!

Anonymous said...

My uncle has moonshine buried all over his yard! Shhh..don't tell anyone!!

I swear you can get drunk just by being next to the bottle when he opens it!