Best Legal Moonshine

By Vanessa Butler

<p>Have a hankering for hooch? Here's the five best legal moonshines on the market today.<br></p>

While the traditional definition of moonshine covers any liquor distilled without a license, many apply the term to unproofed white whiskey that’s bottled directly from the still. Todd Parker followed a pair of hoochmakers in this month’s Playboy for his “Still Life” piece, which got us pretty thirsty for some white lightning. There are legal alternatives to the stuff, and luckily for you (but not your hangover) it’s still got a high proof. Here are our five favorite bottles thus far.

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey

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While it tends to be on the expensive side for moonshine—a 375 ml bottle can run for about 40 bucks—its bold taste comes with a rich history: the Baby Bourbon was “Tuthilltown’s first whiskey and the first legal pot-distilled whiskey made in New York since prohibition.” Shine enthusiasts enjoy the fact that it’s pot-distilled from 100% New York corn, charred in new oak barrels and has some of the best-damn-tasting notes you can get out of legal sophisticated hooch such as Hudson Whiskey.

Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine

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Named after the slang name given to the best moonshine during Prohibition, Catdaddy is handcrafted and distilled in Madison, North Carolina. While only the founder and Master Distiller knows the exact recipe for this triple-distilled spiced moonshine, we do know that it has notes of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. This 80-proof shine sets you back about $20 to $30 per 750 ml bottle depending on what state you’re in, and at that price it’s definitely worth it. It’s great straight and excellent in cocktails.

Kings County Distillery

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Kings County’s Moonshine is like the Wes Anderson of white whiskey. It’s simple, cool-looking and leaves you wanting more. Produced in the oldest running distillery in New York, their unaged white corn whiskey is straight from still to bottle and is perfect for any mixed drink. This 80-proof spirit has a strong smell but a sweet taste and goes for about 25 bucks for a 200 ml bottle.

Ole Smoky Moonshine

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The first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee, Ole Smoky have made quite a name for themselves. While we’re partial to their Moonshine Cherries (who doesn’t like mooneshine-soaked cherries?), the brand carries six flavors, two of which are available in test markets. Their flagship store is like the Walt Disney World of moonshine. If you’re new to this kind of liquor, we suggest grabbing a bottle of this.

Midnight Moon

Photo Courtesy of: Midnight Moon

If you know the name Junior Johnson, you’re either a NASCAR fanatic or a huge moonshine enthusiast. Pardoned by President Reagan in 1986 for a moonshining conviction that had him thrown into federal prison back in 1956, Johnson is a legend both on and off the track. After retiring from driving after 50 race victories, Johnson is still producing his family’s brand of moonshine, Midnight Moon, with the help of Piedmont Distillers since 2007. We’ve had a couple of good nights with this stuff; just remember this is 80-proof moonshine and not, in fact, vodka.


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