STORY / Mike Smith
These moonshine picks pack a serious punch. Pull out a couple of mason jars and make room for these big boys.
Famous for its bourbon, Buffalo Trace bottles its corn, wheat, and barley rye whiskey before it goes into the charred barrels used to age the Kentucky distillery’s bourbons. Rumor has it that Buffalo Trace bourbon fans wanted to taste the spirit before it took on all of its color and unique barrel-aged flavor. Ask and you shall receive; whether that’s a good thing depends on how you feel after that first sip. This is pure, in-your-face white dog, straight from the still. $17
Popcorn Sutton’s moonshine stands in a class of its own, which is to be expected with any version based on one by the lifelong ’shiner and third-generation distiller. Subtly sweet, it has just enough bite to remind you that the stuff started out as hooch from the hills. It’s one of the greats to say cheers to a legend. $28
Stillhouse is one of the newcomers to the scene, and boy does it have a collection of ’shine. The corn whiskey is subtly sweet, clear as water, and goes down extremely smooth. The throwback feel of the packaging alone makes this a great gift for spirits fans. $22
This straight corn whiskey is aged for thirty-six months and has a slightly sweet edge with buttery notes. The handcrafted earthenware jugs are a reminder of how the spirit was once transported (by hand or horse) years ago. $20
A staple in the moonshine business, Ole Smokey has turned out some amazing fresh-fruited and flavored moonshine variants over the years. One of our first forays into the ’shining world was a Moonshine Cherries, essentially maraschino cherries packed in a jar of ’shine. Bonus: all those boozy cherries for cocktails and nibbling. A solid pick for the novice ’shiner, as the sweetness tames the alcohol
Still thirsty? Check out our Spirits section.