When you hear the name Moonshine, you probably conjure up thoughts of illicit stills, of bootleggers moving alcohol in the dead of night, and of a variety of clandestine activities—but these are very much images of bygone days.
The reality of modern moonshine is a very different endeavor, one that is equal parts craft and tradition.
Whilst the word moonshine did once refer almost exclusively to illegally made bootleg alcohol, especially that which sprouted up in the advent of prohibition in the United States. And there are some traditionalists who will say, if it’s legal, it isn’t moonshine.
The word itself has no regulated definition, which is why you’ll now see it popping up all over bars, the internet, and even Costco. As well as all sorts of legal homemade concoctions, how to advice, and Instagrammed mason jars all over the internet these days.
This lack of regulation also explains why there is so much variety in terms of flavor profile and style, with different moonshine producers having different styles and aims when producing their spirits.
Most often, you will find four different kinds of moonshine
A corn heavy mash bill produced moonshine, that will effectively resemble an unaged whiskey, with earthy sweet notes aplenty
A clear, high proof alcohol, much like Everclear or vodka, in that it aims to be a clean and neutral spirit
A more fruiter, almost cider esque spirit that in many ways resembles the Italian drink grappa
Flavored liqueur-like creations, such as the famous apple pie moonshine, that are primarily used as either cocktail flavorings or to drink neat
This variety also means that moonshine can be accompanied by a diverse range of mixers, but also that you should be careful to ensure you pick or make, the right moonshine for your mixer. This is why you need to follow these recipes for great mixers to accompany your moonshine!
A Natural Fit: Ginger Ale And Moonshine
Moonshine’s subtle but distinctive flavor, imparted by the unaged spirit, is one that is undeniably unique, with a yeasted, almost grain whiskey-like, earthy sweetness. And it’s one that can be complemented perfectly by the refreshing sweetness of the ginger ale.
Giving you something that will go down a lot smoother than straight moonshine, but will still feel like a natural, coherent drink.
To make a moonshine and ginger ale mixed drink, combine 1 part moonshine and 2 parts ginger ale in a glass over ice and serve with a slice of lemon as a garnish.
Like The Classic But A Little More Edgy; The Moonshine And Coke
Despite outward appearances, Moonshine is really just a distant cousin of whiskey, and so this variation on the classic whiskey and coke makes perfect sense!
When it comes to this particular mixer, we think it pairs exceptionally well with Moonshine that’s made using a corn heavy mash bill, as that tends to impart an almost cola sweet, and other sweeter notes, onto the flavor profile, making it the perfect compliment and a mixed drink that will literally make you feel like a kid in a candy store.
To make this moonshine and Coke mixed drink, pour one part moonshine, ideally, a corn-derived brand, and two parts coke into an old fashioned glass over ice, garnish with a lemon slice on the side.
A Fruit Burst: Moonshine And Grapefruit Juice
There are some mixers that are probably on hand in your fridge even if you don’t drink them with alcohol, and then there are others that seem to pop up time and time again with alcohol, but you’d probably never drink them without it, such as grapefruit juice.
And it’s easy to see why, whilst that bittersweetness can probably be a little overwhelming on its own—there’s a reason some people cover theirs in sugar if they’re eating a grapefruit for breakfast—it’s a wonderful complimentary note in mixed drinks.
This includes pairing it with moonshine, for a drink that will bring out some wonderful notes, both combined and distinct, in the pairing.
To make your moonshine and grapefruit juice mixer, combine 1 part moonshine and 3 parts grapefruit juice in a margarita glass over ice, stir gently, then garnish with a salted rim and grapefruit slice on the side for your very own moonshine margarita!
A Treat In A Mason Jar: Moonshine And Lemonade
This is one that definitely has an Instagrammable aesthetic, served as it is in a mason jar, ideal for backyard parties and gatherings. But, it definitely works, as two drinks that couldn’t be more homespun and steeped in tradition take the stage in the form of lemonade and moonshine.
A combination that offers something crisp, refreshing, and powerful that will be sure to go down a treat.
To make this moonshine and lemonade mixed drink, fill a sterilized mason jar with crushed ice, add 1 part moonshine to 3 parts lemonade, garnish with a sprig of mint, give a gentle stir and serve to really give your guests something to talk about.
A Very Adult Treat: Moonshine And Hot Chocolate
For this particular evening delight, we’re going to dip into the world of flavored moonshines, courtesy of one of America’s most prominent moonshine distilleries—Sugarland.
In particular, this mixed drink relies on their Butterscotch Gold, which has notes of brown sugar, and caramel creaminess that resemble toffee vodka.
If you can’t get your hands on it, a caramel syrup, such as Monin will make for an adequate replacement. To that base, we then add hot chocolate and whipped cream for a truly decadent treat.
To make your moonshine and hot chocolate mixed drink, heat milk over a stove and stir in hot chocolate powder.
Pour this into a tall glass, add 1 part Butterscotch Gold Moonshine or unflavoured moonshine and caramel syrup, and stir thoroughly. Garnish with whipped cream topped with chocolate shavings.
Crisp And Invigorating: Moonshine And Apple
This mixed drink is the perfect antidote for a slow day, with crisp refreshing flavors that will really cut through just about any sloth-like feelings or malaise. As such though, it relies on the more neutral and higher proof moonshines on the market.
We’re talking clear spirits, with little to no strong flavor, and a minimum of 57% proof. What that means is that the ingredients, the cloudy apple, the dash of lime, and elderflower, can really sing.
To make this moonshine and apple mixed drink, fill a glass with ice and add 2 parts high proof moonshine, 1 part elderflower syrup, 4 parts cloudy apple juice, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Stir gently, and lay down thin strips of cucumber, or slices, as a garnish.
A Special Treat: Moonshine And Blood Orange
The highball is the quintessential mixed drink, just soda, and alcohol, but that does create some problems with moonshine. With the high proof and lack of defined flavor notes, a moonshine highball is a tricky balancing act, which is why we’ve opted for blood orange soda.
With its unique tart sweetness and distinctive hue, blood orange soda is a fantastic pairing for a moonshine mixed drink.
To make this moonshine and blood orange mixed drink. Pour 1 part moonshine to 3 parts blood orange soda, such as San Pellegrino, into a glass over ice and garnish with orange peel or zest.