Is Commercial Moonshine Really Moonshine?

With the thunder in craft spirits of the last 15 years has come an avalanche of new-make spirits labeled “ moonlight, ” “ white pawl, ” or “ white lightning, ” much flavored with everything from apple proto-indo european to jalapeño to pumpkin spice. But what precisely is the stuff ? Is it equitable a doodad ?
Let ’ s back up for a minute and talk terminology. To start with, “ moonshine ” is a misnomer for any commercial intersection, since, by definition, moonshine is illegally-distilled liquor. These days, actual moonshine—the farce you ’ five hundred buy on the black market if you didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate want to pay a tax—can be made from any fermentable substrate, from sugar to grain to stone fruit. Whatever distillers can get their hands on and want to work with is clean game.

commercial liquor labeled as moonlight is typically one of two things : impersonal grain spirits or unaged whiskey. But what ’ s the difference there ?
In short circuit, it ’ s a difference in proof at distillation. Neutral spirits—of which vodka is a subcategory—must be at least 95 % alcohol coming off the calm, whereas whiskey must be distilled to less than 95 % ABV. american whiskeys like bourbon, rye, and corn whiskey whiskey can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be distilled above 80 % ABV. Those differences are important, because the lower the proof at distillation, the more flavorful congeners carry over from the grain to the final spirit. White whiskey, in other words, is different from vodka, but some of what gets sold as “ moonshine ” is legally vodka. Check the finely print—if the label says “ neutral spirits, ” it ’ s not whiskey.

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thus why are these spirits therefore trendy these days ?

In large depart, it ’ s because whiskey, like other aged spirits, is expensive and time-consuming to produce. It can be years before newly-distilled bourbon or rye is ready to hit the shelves, and small start-ups normally can ’ thyroxine afford to sit around twiddling their thumbs while whiskey is maturing. That leaves them with two options : buy and bottle sourced whiskey, or make clear spirits that can be sold good away. Gin, vodka, and ashen curious are all options, but alleged moonshine has an lawless mystique that fits well with the brand of a lot of small distilleries. Some large distilleries, like Buffalo Trace, have since jumped on the bandwagon with their own new-make bottlings .
The fact that white cad is normally either a marketing gambit or a fiscal makeshift doesn ’ t necessarily mean it ’ s to be avoided. For one thing, it can be a capital mixer, serving as a more-flavorful substitute for vodka. It can besides be interesting to taste diverse styles of whiskey in their new-make form, and even, if you have the outer space and solitaire, try aging it at home .

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