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What Does Moonshine Taste Like? (2023 Updated)

What Does Moonshine Taste Like

Last Updated on February 11, 2024 by Lydia Martin

People who have never had moonshine may wonder, “what does moonshine taste like?” Some are scared to have a sip because of its very high alcohol content and an “anti-septic-like” taste, as other drinkers describe. 

If you also wonder what this spirit tastes like, keep on reading. Our team will unravel everything you need to know about moonshine’s unique taste.

What is Moonshine?

Midnight Moon

Moonshine is a sort of unaged whiskey manufactured illegally. It is often referred to as hooch, homebrew, or white lightning. It is often compared to a clear, unaged whiskey or bourbon

Moonshine was introduced to the United States by Irish and Scottish immigrants. During the 18th century, a fee was established on every whiskey production. It was later abolished throughout the prohibition era.

Until 2010, all forms of moonshine were banned in the United States. However, the government subsequently began giving licenses to produce this strong beverage. So untaxed moonshine manufacture was considered illegal. However, there are legal moonshines nowadays. 

Moonshine has a high alcohol concentration, up to 95%, and is distilled. With this in mind, it has a similar kick and burns to other high-proof alcohols. Therefore, drinking moonshine is dangerous. Be prepared for the stinging feeling if you’re drinking moonshine for the first time.

What’s the Taste Like?

The bottles of moonshine somehow taste like 151 rum. If you’ve tasted this drink, you’ll get a burning sensation and a kick, which is similar to the taste of moonshine. Also, some explain that bottles of moonshine taste kind of earthy.

Aside from the rubbing alcohol taste, you should taste the slight sweetness and hints of corn flavor. Some testers report that bottles of moonshine taste like good grappa and have a flavor strictly of their own. 

Others claim to discern vanilla notes in the good moonshine. However, this is not a true moonshine flavor and was most likely added to make it more appealing to the modern palate.

Also Read: Moonshine vs Whiskey

How It’s Made

Corn

Moonshine is traditionally created from sugar and corn mash. It produces methanol by brewing a sugar source. The fact that moonshine is one of the unaged spirits distinguishes it from other spirits such as whiskey. 

Legal moonshine producers, often known as “moonshiners,” can manufacture the drink from a fruit or grain mash that has been fermented to extract natural sugars. They can also utilize commercial sugar. Sugar is essential to the process, and it differs from whiskey, which is made entirely on grain. 

Distillation is the process of using evaporation and condensation to separate ethanol from water physically. This produces a significantly greater alcohol content than fermentation may obtain [2].

After the distillation process, the traditional moonshine is kept and maintained in mason jars. Fortunately, now that making moonshine under license is lawful, brewers have begun to polish and improve this illegal moonshine.

Top 7 Moonshine Flavors 

Top 7 Moonshine Flavors 

Midnight Moon 

This moonshine is made from corn and is 80 proof or 40% ABV. This drink isn’t too strong, but it tastes oddly like vodka. Midnight moonshine also comes with a blackberry flavor. 

The blackberry flavor has hints of blackberry that have been infused in clean corn whiskey. The blackberry taste is extremely upfront. It is acidic, tangy, and brimming with natural fruitiness, all of which is carried by a nice clean corn whiskey.

Tim Smith’s Climax 

Tim Smith’s Climax

Tim Smith’s climax moonshine has an alcohol level of 45% or 90 proof. This is rye, corn, and malted barley moonshine. It has a spicy and sweet flavor combination. This spirit has a powerful kick to it, but it’s also surprisingly smooth. 

Hudson New York Corn

Hudson New York corn whiskey is moonshine made entirely of corn distilled. As a result, you may feel a strong flavor of corn in this liquor since they used so much corn to make this moonshine. You can taste like roasting corn in this corn whiskey. That’s why some can’t help themselves taste a bottle of this liquor. But how do you make corn whiskey?

Ole Smoky Tennessee 

Ole Smoky Tennessee

Ole Smoky Tennessee moonshine is a corn-distilled spirit with 100 proof. Some even compare the flavor of this moonshine to month-old Chinese white rice. Ole Smoky, based in Tennessee, produces a wide variety of moonshines, from basic white lightning to Ole Smoky moonshine flavored varieties like strawberry mango margarita and lemon drop.

Ole Smoky moonshine is bottled in a mason jar, evoking a real ‘prohibited’ atmosphere! This category contains powerful moonshine with a 50 percent ABV and less strong moonshine with a lower ABV.

Kings Country Distillery

This moonshine has a very savory flavor and resembles actual corn flavors. Others also say that this moonshine has a tequila-like taste. This alcohol comes in a pretty smooth 80 proof corn base.

Also Read: What Does XXX On A Moonsine Jug Mean?

Great America 

Great America

The Great America Moonshine line, brewed and bottled in Detroit, Michigan, is a malt-based moonshine. However, it is not as intense, with the classic lemonade moonshine taste arriving at just 14% ABV. Great America Moonshine comes in five delicious flavors: apple pie, lemonade, strawberry, peach, and blueberry.

Apple pie is the most famous among its different flavors. The apple pie moonshine is the most bought among those flavors. A mix of apple cider, apple juice, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg spices make the apple pie moonshine taste like.

Jeptha Creed

Jeptha Creed is a potent moonshine with a clean and crisp moonshine taste, boasting a 40% ABV. This moonshine also creates flavored moonshine like cinnamon and blackberry. This moonshine is made using a traditional formula and pays respect to the prohibition era’s American rebellious nature. 

What Moonshine Tastes When Mixed in a Cocktail

Ole Smoky

When mixed with cocktails, moonshine will have an extra and enhanced taste. Many people enjoy traditional moonshine, but today’s moonshines come in many flavored moonshines. You can now drink this unaged whiskey with your favorite mixers. For sure, your own moonshine will taste differently. But, does moonshine go bad?

If you want to bring out the moonshine’s base flavors, look for cocktails that pair well with the –honey, and warm spices work particularly well. Other strong alcohols might create a perfect blend for moonshine recipes, such as vodka, bourbon, whiskey, and rum. 

Furthermore, you can also try mixing your moonshine with iced tea, grapefruit juice, sweet vermouth, ginger ale with ice cubes for a different twist to your taste buds.

Read: Our Favorite Peach Moonshine Mash

FAQs 

Can you drink straight moonshine?

Yes, you can drink moonshine straight. It is usually consumed straight from the mason jar. However, you can also drink moonshine in shots. Some experts take a shot glass a day of moonshine as it contains more alcohol than two regular drinks.

Is moonshine stronger than vodka?

Yes, moonshine is stronger than vodka. This is because moonshine may have an alcohol concentration of up to 100 proof. When you taste moonshine, you will experience a burning sensation in your mouth and throat. More on moonshine vs vodka here

Which liquor does moonshine taste closest to?

Whiskey or bourbon is the liquor that moonshine tastes closest to, but the flavor profile will taste different because it hasn’t been aged. They also compare it to vodka, although the two drinks are different.

What is the flavor of moonshine?

Moonshine’s flavor can vary widely based on the ingredients used and the distillation process. Traditionally made from corn, the flavor profile may include sweet, grainy, and even slightly fruity notes. However, modern moonshines come in diverse styles, featuring flavors ranging from apple pie and peach to cinnamon and more. The taste is often influenced by the choice of grains, fruits, or other flavoring agents added during production.

Why did moonshine become illegal?

Moonshine became illegal primarily due to taxation and regulatory concerns. During Prohibition in the United States (1920-1933), the production and sale of alcoholic beverages were banned. Moonshiners operated illegally to avoid taxes, creating an underground industry. The lack of regulation also led to safety concerns, as unregulated production methods could result in harmful substances in the final product.

Is moonshine just vodka?

No, moonshine is not just vodka. While both are distilled spirits, they differ in ingredients and production methods. Moonshine is traditionally made from corn or other grains, giving it a distinct flavor. Vodka, on the other hand, is typically made from grains or potatoes and undergoes multiple distillations for a neutral taste. Moonshine often retains more of its raw, grainy character compared to the smooth and neutral profile of vodka.

Why is moonshine poisonous?

Moonshine can be hazardous if produced using improper methods or with contaminated equipment. Illicit moonshine operations may use unsafe ingredients, such as lead-based solder or inappropriate materials in still construction, leading to contamination. Additionally, unregulated production may result in high levels of methanol, a toxic alcohol, in the final product. Commercially produced and regulated moonshine is generally safe for consumption when produced following established guidelines.

Why is moonshine so good?

The perception of moonshine being “good” is subjective and depends on personal taste preferences. Some may appreciate the raw and unfiltered nature of traditional moonshine, with its distinct flavors and character. Craft distillers have also entered the market, producing high-quality, legal moonshine with unique flavor profiles that appeal to a broad audience.

Is moonshine the most powerful alcohol?

Moonshine is not necessarily the most powerful alcohol. The alcohol content of moonshine can vary, but it is typically high, ranging from 40% to 60% alcohol by volume (ABV). There are other spirits, such as overproof rum or certain types of grain alcohol, that can surpass moonshine in alcohol strength.

Why do people like moonshine?

People may appreciate moonshine for its authenticity, unique flavors, and historical significance. Craft distillers have elevated the quality of legal moonshine, offering enthusiasts a diverse range of options. The appeal also lies in the connection to tradition, as moonshine has a rich cultural history in various regions.

Is moonshine 100% corn?

Traditional moonshine is often made from corn, but it can be produced using various grains such as barley, rye, or wheat. The choice of grains influences the flavor profile of the moonshine, and modern variations may include fruit-infused or flavored versions.

What the heck is moonshine?

Moonshine is an informal term for illegally produced or homemade distilled alcohol. It gained prominence during Prohibition in the United States when homemade spirits were produced in hidden stills by “moonshiners.” Today, legal and commercially produced moonshine is available, offering a diverse range of flavors and styles.

What flavor is the best moonshine?

The “best” flavor of moonshine is subjective and varies based on individual taste preferences. Some may prefer traditional corn-based moonshine, while others enjoy fruit-infused or flavored variations. Popular flavors include apple pie, peach, cinnamon, and berry, with craft distillers constantly innovating to create unique and appealing profiles.

Is there flavored moonshine?

Yes, there is flavored moonshine. Craft distillers often experiment with various flavorings, adding fruits, spices, or other ingredients to create unique and appealing profiles. Flavored moonshine has become a popular category, offering enthusiasts a diverse range of options beyond traditional unflavored varieties.

What does moonshine taste good with?

Moonshine’s versatility allows it to pair well with a variety of mixers and ingredients. Depending on the flavor profile, moonshine can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. Common mixers include fruit juices, ginger ale, or soda. Moonshine can also be used in creative cocktails, adding a unique twist to traditional recipes.

Why is moonshine so sweet?

Moonshine’s sweetness can vary depending on the ingredients and flavorings used during production. Traditional corn-based moonshine may have a naturally sweet and grainy flavor, while fruit-infused or flavored variations can exhibit additional sweetness from added sugars or fruit sugars. The perception of sweetness is subjective and depends on the specific moonshine product.

Why does my moonshine taste weird?

The taste of moonshine can be influenced by various factors, including the quality of ingredients, distillation methods, and flavorings used. If moonshine tastes “weird,” it could be due to contamination, improper production techniques, or undesirable flavors from the raw ingredients. Commercially produced and regulated moonshine is more likely to adhere to quality standards

What Does Moonshine Taste Like

In a nutshell, the traditional moonshine bottled straight from the still has a strong classic taste. However, there are now numerous flavored varieties and even more moonshine recipes online. 

The flavor is strong, and you will experience a burning sensation in your mouth and throat. Additionally, the alcohol concentration differs from moonshine to another. 

Are you still wondering, “what does moonshine taste like?’ If yes, go out and purchase a bottle of the finest moonshine, drink, and enjoy! 

References: 

  1. https://www.verywellmind.com/moonshine-can-still-cause-health-problems-63205 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/distilled-beverage
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