Ah, moonshine. The rebellious spirit woven into American folklore once brewed in bathtubs and hidden in the hollows of the Appalachians. As a former bartender, I’ve seen patrons’ eyes light up when they spot this clear, potent elixir on our shelves, echoing stories of outlaw ancestors and secret family recipes. And let me tell you, moonshine is as versatile as they come when it comes to mixing.
For me, mixing moonshine isn’t just about taste but invoking memories. My family also has a tale of “Grandpa,” who was caught running moonshine during Prohibition and forced to leave the state to avoid prosecution. Here’s my tried-and-true list of mixers that complement moonshine and elevate it to artisanal cocktail status.
1. Apple Cider
Moonshine and apple cider are like Bonnie and Clyde – legendary together. Try experimenting with a hot version. Adding a cinnamon stick and a star anise, it was an instant hit and soon became a seasonal favorite.
2. Club Soda
Sometimes, simplicity reigns supreme. An older gentleman once told me that during Prohibition, his folks would dilute moonshine with club soda to make it last longer. It’s a clean, bubbly mixer that lets the raw authenticity of moonshine shine through.
This is an excellent option for anyone who wants to try moonshine for the first time. It’s a classic for a reason: Coke’s caramel notes tame moonshine’s wildness.
Pour two ounces of moonshine into a cocktail glass over ice and add 4 to 6 ounces of Coke, tasting along the way, to get your perfect combination. For an extra treat, try using Cherry Coke instead of regular.
4. Cranberry Juice
This drink is tart but powerful. On a whim, I once mixed moonshine with cranberry juice. The cranberry’s sharpness and moonshine’s potency will create a delightful dance on the palate.
5. Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
The spicy zing of ginger is a revelation with moonshine. It’s my favorite after an adventurous night of experimenting with mixing and trying to create the perfect moonshine mule. Garnish with lime, and you’ve got a winner.
Many people swear by moonshine lemonade. I’ve heard that it reminds folks of hot Southern summers and family reunions. I think they are onto something.
The tartness of lemonade offsets the raw intensity of moonshine, making it a refreshing concoction. Throw in some muddled mint or basil for an extra kick.
7. Muddled Berries
During berry season, I love muddling strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries at the bottom of the glass, topping it with moonshine and a splash of soda. The fruity burst of flavors with moonshine’s intensity makes it a crowd-pleaser.
8. Peach Nectar
Old timers often speak of peach-infused moonshine. I recommend shaking up moonshine with peach nectar and a splash of soda. It’s sweet and aromatic, and brings stories of yesteryears alive.
9. Sweet Tea
Ah, the charm of the South in a glass. The smoothness of sweet tea complements moonshine’s fire, resulting in a balanced, easy-sipping drink. Folks tip extra just for this taste of nostalgia.
10. Tonic Water
The slight bitterness of tonic juxtaposed with moonshine’s strong character is surprisingly refreshing. It cuts the alcohol bite without masking moonshine’s unique flavor. Plus, a slice of grapefruit adds an extra layer of flavor.
With its rich history and robust character, Moonshine offers a challenging and rewarding canvas for bartenders. Over the years, I’ve learned that mixing moonshine isn’t just about creating a drink; it’s about invoking memories, sharing stories, and relishing traditions.
So the next time you have a jar of ‘shine, remember these mixers and the tales they tell. And, as we say behind the bar, may your spirits always be high and your moonshine ever clear. Cheers!
For more, don’t miss the Top 20 Mixers For Alcoholic Beverages.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.