What Does Moonshine Taste Like? (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on March 3, 2023 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


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 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


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.

In Summary 

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! 



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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