Break Out Your Banjo, Moonshine Is Making a Comeback!

Lindsay Mannering
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moonshineThere's a lot to be proud of if you're from the great Commonwealth of Virginia, like I am. First of all, Virginia Commonwealth University was the Cinderella team that made it to the Final Four this year, and now there's news emerging from the Western part of the Commonwealth that is just as exciting. Guess what's making a comeback? No, not overalls and toothlessness. Moonshine! Good old-fashioned DIY booze is back and better than ever.

While you may be getting some crazy ideas about moving to Appalachia and setting up shop, this is an FYI that it's still illegal to make or distribute. But shh, a little taste of white lightning (probably) won't kill you. So y'all get out your banjos and night-vision goggles, Moonshine is back and ready to party.

Frankly I'm a little surprised that it's still illegal. I don't want any red flags by my name in government records, but what's so bad about distilling your own liquor? I guess it's because it's dangerous -- you really can go blind if you don't mix the alcohol in at the right temperature -- but it's also dangerous undercooking meat or eating bad tomato sauce. Should those things be banned, too?

The Alcoholic Beverage Control agents have shut down five illegal moonshine operations just last month alone, so people are really getting after it in the woods. Officials think the economic downturn is at play here. Citizens don't want to buy something they can make themselves, and funding for local and state Illegal Whiskey Units have been cut.

I've heard (wink wink) that moonshine from both Virginian and North Carolinian stills, if done right, can be rather smooth and refreshing. The flavors, again, if done right, are a nice mixture of incorporated local berry and root essences that will transport you back in time.

Grand Pappy's white lightning (aka moonshine) has been around since the Revolution, when people were fed up with paying British taxes on their beloved whiskey, so they started making their own. It's a harried tradition and one that still gets a lot of attention to this day. Moonshiners, if caught, are rarely jailed for distilling but rather for tax evasion. The property is seized and fines must be paid by any moonshiner making, selling, or buying products to produce the stuff.

With this recent resurgence in the hooch trade, I hope that the end-result is delicious ... and, of course, safe.

Have you ever had moonshine?


Photo via Kristymp/Flickr

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