Ole Smokey Moonshine

I had to try it. I’m not much of a drinker anymore, not like in my younger , wilder days. Drinking makes me tired and leaves me with a head ache even when it’s just a little so I usually abstain. But you can’t go into the southern hills of Appalachia and not sample the moonshine. I admit I was curious.

Gatlinburg 100

There’s still a difference in what is commercially available and legal and what the “old timers” brew in their homemade stills in the “hollers”. From what I was told that stuff will curl your hair. Its more than 100 proof and nothing smooth about it.

The highest proof alcohol that can be sold legally is 100 proof. At the Moonshine tasting that was where it started, at 100 proof and worked downward.

At each tasting station a bartender stood in back of a row of bottles, 2 clear and about 5 colored and a jar of maraschino cherries. As soon as you step up to the rough board bar he plops a tiny shot glass in front of you. It’s about the size of a thimble.

Gatlinburg 096

We started with a 100 proof version that had been distilled 4 times. There was no aroma or bouquet to speak of even though we all lifted it up to sniff it first. It didn’t have lot of taste either but it did have heat. You toss it back and swallow, no rolling this stuff on the tongue. That heat starts in the mouth and runs down your throat until it slams into your stomach. In my case it roiled around there a bit then started spreading through the rest of me.

Almost immediately it was sample number 2. That one was also 100 proof and he called this one White Lightening. This one had only been distilled twice so it wasn’t as smooth as the first one. This one followed the trail blazed by that first mini shot and my eyes might have crossed. I liked this one. It may not have been as smooth but it had character, body. I wasn’t sure it was going to like me. But eventually it settled down.

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We now moved to the flavored versions. The bartender told us to expect something like Boonsfarm. Everyone in my group remembered Boonsfarm, that cheap apple wine we drank in college. The thought of that was enough to make me hesitant but these flavored versions are only 40 proof. The first one was Peach.

It was Peach alright and sweet! Definitely not to my taste. We moved onto the cherries. They were in a bottle of moonshine. I skipped the cherries but my tasting neighbor said that they went off like a bomb in your mouth. I’m not sure what the next few were. I think there was a blackberry and maybe a “punch bowl” but I skipped those too. I was waiting for the alleged crowd favorite..Apple Pie.

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Apple Pie tasted suspiciously like that afore mentioned  Boonsfarm. I didn’t give it very high marks. Nope my favorite had to be the 2nd kind, the 100 proof with a kick like a mule, White Lightening.  That was my choice but at $25.00 a bottle it can stay on the shelf.




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