Moonshine is a deep and intrinsic part of American drinking culture, what was once liquor produced from illegal stills, has morphed into a booming industry. With modern distilling and new alcohol recipes, moonshine has seen a resurgence with many family-owned or small-batch distilleries producing their own custom moonshine recipes.
Our own moonshine at Walton’s Distillery has roots in the liquor distilling techniques of the past. We use secrets and techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation in the local area. One prominent family moonshiner and his associates shared their knowledge of the craft. From building our first moonshine still to blending flavors and recipes using 50-year-old methods to preserve the authenticity of our moonshine.
Even though our moonshine production is done completely legally, there are still many myths and legends surrounding the mysterious beverage. Here are some of the common beliefs surrounding moonshine and the truths to straighten them out.
- Myth: All moonshine is produced at night
Because moonshine was produced illegally, usually deep in the remote woods, it was frequently manufactured under the cover of night. In fact, that’s how moonshine originally got its name. But the practice of late-night distilling had nothing to do with the quality or flavor of the liquor and more to do with the protection of the people making it.
Distilling the drink in secrecy was generally safer than operating in broad daylight and prevented moonshiners from being caught. Now that moonshine can be produced legally, it can be made freely during the day during normal business hours, with no need for secret or clandestine operations.
- Myth: Moonshine is just corn liquor
If we were looking at corn whiskey, there are requirements such as having an 80% or higher corn mash bill and that it may or may not be aged in barrels. By contrast, moonshine requires no aging in barrels and as a result, can be made relatively quickly and easily. Moonshine does contain corn, and while some blends are like corn whiskey, other blends are not. It can all depend on the ingredients that are used in the recipe. Moonshine varies person to person, and even region to region on how they make their recipe.
- Myth: Moonshine will make you go blind
As moonshine historically was made illegally, it was not governed by any of the health regulations or requirements surrounding safe alcohol production. While some of the health scare stories around moonshine were fabricated by authorities to deter the purchase and consumption of the drink, some stories had a factual basis.
Moonshine blindness could occur if there was too much methanol in the drink. The methanol typically accumulated in the first few ounces of liquid that came out of the still, known as the heads, and over time, moonshiners learned that this should be discarded. Moonshine that is carefully crafted is safe for consumption in moderation and runs no risk of blindness.
- Myth: Making moonshine is dangerous
For the illegal moonshiner of the past, making the alcohol could be dangerous with chemical reactions and exploding stills causing more than a few injuries. However, with the correct legal processes for moonshine production, modern distillers can make all kinds of batches, blends, and unique recipes completely safely. Without knowledge of the distillation process, it’s easy to create an unsafe environment. Alcohol fumes, flames, steam, and hot equipment are just a few hazards we come across and monitor for safe distillation.
Give our family recipe a try. Though produced legally to share with more people, this small batch recipe is nothing but family tradition.
Junior Waltons Authentic Carolina Moonshine is made here in Onslow County using our traditional family recipe to create an authentic and high-quality product for your enjoyment.