While chatting over lobster bisque at the decadent restaurant Elements high atop the Blue Ridge Parkway last fall, it hardly seemed backwoods corn liquor would be a likely topic. But those hills have deep roots, and my host, Mara Bouvier, mentioned an old still was found on the 12,000-acre luxury resort of Primland, a heavenly golf, pheasant and deer hunting property south of Blacksburg, Va. I asked if moonshine was ever legalized, and she responded by calling to the table both Catdaddy and Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon varieties, two brands leading the great 'shine revival.
Wearing camo and hauling a bolt-action Sako A7, I had been trudging daily through the fancy hallways past the well-dressed guests, chasing big whitetails with my usual post-rut luck, and the smooth warmth of that first taste of moonshine (essentially raw whiskey that has never seen a barrel) made my frustrations melt into a glowing inner sunshine. Modern refined brands like Johnson's Apple Pie will have you shinin', too, making it easy to see why Southerners were willing to fight for it all these years. -- Skip Knowles
Headlong White Dog Whiskey
has a woodsy taste coupled with a sweet sugar back. It's
proudly made in Washington state, which has no history of making 'shine but
did a damn good job on this one. Be careful, one of our editors now has a slight twitch in his right eye after spending a night with this nasty mistress.
This clear gut thumper
is smoother and drier than David Hasslehoff on Baywatch, goes great on the rocks, has a much better finish and is as clean as the Virginia stream it came from. Its light peppery kick is a great stress reliever.
This one is clean, but it has an aftertaste that makes us recall the old days of rye whiskey
. It has a medicinal finish, and its 80-proof kick will give you the instant ability to play the banjo like Jed Clampett
has created a distinct blend of the high-proof sting of moonshine with the fruitiness of your girlfriend's favorite vodka. This dessert Apple Pie moonshine goes well with vanilla ice cream and desperation. A female tester says: "This stuff is for wusses." Skip Knowles: "This will drop my panties."
is our favorite moonshine. Its sweet, cinnamon taste will make your
knees buckle. It's so good, we drank it all before we wrote this article. So, we're drunk, leave us alone and continue reading.