How to make moonshine

Dating as far back as the 1700’s, moonshine is a term that basically referred to illegal whiskey. The name comes from the fact that it was made at night by moonlight. Early American colonists sometimes brewed the spirits for sale or trade and would hide bottles of moonshine in their boots, covered by their pants leg, hence the expression “bootlegger”. Old fashioned, crude stills would be hidden in cellars or concealed in the woods and today, we might find original stills in history museums.

Even though today it is much simpler to pay a visit to the local state liquor store to purchase whiskey, you could make it at home if you are so inclined to attempt it. You might want to make sure it isn’t illegal in your state to make it, and keep in mind that is illegal to sell alcohol without a liquor license everywhere since this prevents the government from getting their share of the sales tax.

The basic ingredients in moonshine are corn meal, sugar, water, yeast, and malt. Other ingredients can be experimented with and added according to taste or preference and there are ultimately hundreds of varying recipes that have stood the test of time. Essentially though, you will have to determine a recipe specific to the amount you are planning to make and what type of still you are using.

To make moonshine, mix the ingredients together in a container. The mixture, called “mash” then has to be moved into a still to ferment. It may take several days for the mash to ferment depending on how warm it is kept. Fermented mash is then heated until it produces a liquid and then vaporizes. The vapor is trapped in a tube or coil and transferred to an empty container where the condensation becomes the moonshine. The mash can be stored in its container and reused a few times by adding more sugar, cornmeal, malt and water.