September 1, 2016

Try Your Hand at Moonshine 101 with an (Apple)achian Trail Cocktail

We Southerners love our lore (and our cocktails). So it stands to reason that the folks in-the-know have a vested interest in setting the record straight when it comes to Moonshine. Think you know the difference? Drink in these eight spirited factoids to see just how well you know your moonshine.

  1.  Moonshine is homemade grain alcohol. It is illegal since it is unregulated and not taxed...sorry guys.
  2. White whiskey (sometimes referred to as unaged whiskey) is legal...thank goodness!
  3. Historically, Moonshine could have been made from anything that can ferment. This includes apples, rye, and even raw sugar to keep costs low.
  4. White whiskey is distilled from corn. The result...a smooth, almost creamy drink, frequently used to replace other white spirits (such as vodka or gin).
  5. Because it was (and is) illegal to produce, Moonshiners worked outside "by the light of the moon" to avoid being detected by the police. (Moon-shine?)
  6. Moonshine was dispensed into jugs with an X on the outside. The "XXX" symbol meant the Moonshine had been distilled three times (making it pure alcohol).
  7. White Whiskey matures in casks. Its darker cousin, Whiskey, matures in wood barrels to produce its characteristic brown color. 
  8. Moonshine is not mature. No surprise there!

Now that you know the difference, it's time for a taste test. Fortunately, there's nowhere better than downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina to give premium, locally crafted White Whiskey a try. Our friends at Broad Branch Distillery are proud to continue the tradition of carefully matured, seasonally specific White Whiskey. Their signature spirit includes notes of sweet grain, heirloom corn, malted barley, and a grapefruit citrus finish. You can sample it yourself in their distillery tasting room, or in any number of gourmet cocktail spots downtown.

Better yet, grab a bottle to take home and try your handle at a fall-inspired concoction. Distiller Joe Tappe teamed up with the mixologist gurus at Tate's Craft Cocktails for what they are calling the "Apple"achian Trail -- a crisp-and-complex nod to the nearby Appalachian Mountains, where much of Carolina's Moonshine story began.

"Apple"achain Trail Cocktail featuring Broad Branch NightLab 1.0

  • 1 oz Broad Branch NightLab White Whiskey
  • .75 oz Lustau Oloroso dry sherry
  • .5 oz Allspice dram (We used St. Elizabeth)
  • .5 oz 2:1 Demerara syrup
  • 4 drops of 2:1 malic acid (find malic acid at a number of online providers, including Amazon)
  • 2 heavy dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz Crispin cider

Shake Broad Branch Nightlab White Whiskey, sherry, allspice dram, demerara, malic acid, and angostura with ice in a shaker tin. Strain over fresh ice into a low ball, old-fashioned glass. Top with Crispin cider. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon, apple slice, and a cinnamon stick.

Craft a Visit of Your Own The "Apple"achain Trail Cocktail will be featured on the fall specialty menu at Tate's Craft Cocktails in downtown Winston-Salem. Meet the distillers at Broad Branch Distillery and learn the science behind the making of white whiskey and rum when you schedule a behind-the-scenes tour of the distillery. The distillery is located at 756 Trade Street in downtown Winston-Salem inside the Big Winston warehouse complex. Don't forget to tell them that Visit Winston-Salem sent you!