You’ve just bought your first bottle of moonshine (the legal kind, of course) and you can’t wait to taste it. You eagerly unscrew the cap and take a sip straight out of the bottle (the way the old-timers used to do). Only then do you realize that, without any aging to mellow the spirit, this stuff burns. It’s called white lightnin’ for a reason. You try not to sputter and cough (you can almost hear the old-timers chuckling at you).
Moonshine can be interesting to sip, once you get past the initial burn, but it also mixes really well in cocktails. You can substitute it for aged whiskey, or even gin and vodka. We ask our Hooch Bartenders to recommend some of their favorite moonshine cocktails to get you started.
(recipe from Tommy Klus)
2 ounces white whiskey (1-1/2 ounces for the faint…)
3/4 ounce Combier Crème de Mure (blackberry liqueur)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce 2:1 cane syrup
Healthy pinch of mint
Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice and shake. Fine strain over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig.
(recipe from Matt Seiter)
3/4 ounce Death’s Door White Whiskey
3/4 ounce Alvear’s Amontillado Sherry
3/4 ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Mix all in a tin, add ice, shake for 10 seconds. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.
Note: we’ve tried this with other moonshine/white whiskey, but the one that worked best was Death’s Door. Plus it fits with the name.
Moon of the Rise
(recipe from Victoria D’Amato-Moran)
2 ounces moonshine or white whiskey
1 ounce dry vermouth
6 drops grapefruit bitters
1 lemon peel
1 grapefruit peel
Twist the lemon peel inside a chilled cocktail glass and rub the oil inside the glass to cover. Do the same with the grapefruit peel. Discard the grapefruit peel. In a mixing glass, add the ingredients. Add ice. Stir briskly until the glass becomes ice cold. Strain into the ice-cold cocktail glass.
Swizzle Me Timbers
(recipe from Kevin Burke)
2 ounces Tuthilltown’s Hudson New York Corn Whiskey
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce rich simple syrup (2:1 ratio)
1/4 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
4 1/4-inch cucumber wheels, 1 reserved for garnish
6-8 mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish
Small pinch of salt
In mixing tin firmly muddle cucumber wheels with small pinch of salt. Smack the mint and add it to the mixing tin along with the whiskey, lemon, sugar, and liqueur. Fill with ice and firmly shake for 20 seconds. Fine strain into crushed-ice filled collins glass filled with crushed ice. Insert your bar spoon into glass and give the drink a brief swizzle to frost the outside of the glass. Garnish with remaining cucumber wheel and mint sprig. Add a straw to prevent the avalanche of crushed ice from tumbling all over you and ruining your shirt.
Smoky Monday (Lunes)
(recipe from James Lee)
1-1/2 ounces white whiskey
1/2 ounce Laphroaig 10 year Scotch whisky
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce simple syrup
3 ounces sour beer
1 Orange peel
Add all ingredients (except beer) in a mixing glass with ice and shake hard for 5 seconds. Strain into a 9 to 11 oz. chilled goblet glass and top it off with your favorite sour beer (Duchess de Bourgogne is mine) and stir to mix. Garnish with a large burnt orange peel.