To put me in the right frame of mind to do some moonshine tastin’, I watched a couple of episodes of Moonshiners on Discovery. Then, it was time to crack open a Mason jar and try some Sugarlands Distilling Co.’s Shine!
Sugarlands uses the traditional moonshine recipe, corn and sugar. They mill their own corn, and do all the distilling in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. In the mountains, yes, but legally and in daylight. Their newest partners, Jim Tom and Tickle from Moonshiners, started out on the slightly less legal side of things, but have since gone legit and are sharing their secret recipes with Sugarlands. Keep an eye out for Jim Tom’s unaged rye and Tickle’s Dynamite Cinnamon and Mark Roger’s American Peach. Watching them on Moonshiners definitely makes me want a jar of my own, and Sugarlands definitely fits the bill! I can’t say I’d tip back the jar and swig it like they do on the show…well, ok, I probably would.
Color: Clear. It’s unaged and unflavored, cut with a bit of water to bring down the proof before bottling. Or jarring, as the case may be.
Nose: It smells like corn whiskey, plain and simple. Sweet, with a very little “alcohol” burn.
Taste: Sweet and smooth up front, just like the two ingredients it’s made from. There’s a little bit of burn – c’mon, it’s moonshine, so it should let you know that. It’s also pretty high proof, so you’re not going to get away clean like a moonshiner in the night – it’s gonna burn. But it’s a good burn, not overwhelming and doesn’t last forever. I’m on the road at the moment, so I don’t have any decent mixers, but I can see this going into most any cocktail you’d put vodka in, plus some you’d put whiskey in.
ABV: 50% (100 proof)
Price: Right around $20, depending on which flavor you get
Availability: 8 states, with NY coming soon. Check their website for more info.
Rating: 8 pancakes out of 10 – tasty!
Appalachian Apple pie
Color: Dark gold.
Nose: Super sweet, almost a bubblegum smell.
Taste: It’s as sweet as it smells. Named apple pie, you don’t get a fresh apple taste nor smell, but more of a baked apple, where you started with a sweet apple, rather than a tart Granny Smith. It’s low proof, so there’s no burn and it just leaves a sweet taste on your tongue. Honestly, it’s a little sweet for me – I can see it mixed into something where you could add some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, that would help round out some of the sweetness. A spicy ginger beer would go nicely, too.
ABV: 20% (40 proof)
Rating: 7 pancakes out of 10 – good stuff!
Article by: Jeanne Runkle