(From my column in Food & Dining Louisville) Shop any decent liquor store and you’ll find a growing number of clear spirits that aren’t gin, vodka or rum. I’m talking moonshine, a debatably named clear liquor and tasty tribute to the turbulent times of Prohibition.
Baby Boomers hearing the word “moonshine” recall “The Beverly Hillbillies’” Granny Clampett sipping “white lightnin’” from an earthen jug labeled “XXX.” She made her “rheumatiz medicine” from an unknown recipe in an illegal still. Much the same occurs today on the Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” show, where its scofflaw characters make ‘shine by “recipes” that vary with nearly every episode. What’s available, affordable and fermentable is what gets used. Sometimes that’s sugar and water, other times it’s some ground corn, sugar and water. Once rotting strawberries served as the sugar source for a batch o’ hooch that emerged blue from the still. (Thankfully, the hard luck hill jacks ditched it.)
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