5 Delicious Moonshine Cocktails to Celebrate Whiskey’s American Roots

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White lightning. Hooch. Mountain Dew. White whiskey. Moonshine goes by many names.

The high-proof, often illicitly distilled spirit, along with some incredibly delicious moonshine cocktails, have a mysterious and storied history. Before the first federally-mandated tax on liquor in the late 1700s, farmers used to produce ’shine as a way to stay afloat during hard years—that doesn’t mean they stopped after the tax was established though. In parts of the U.S. today (particularly in Appalachia), the tradition lives on—you’ve seen Moonshiners, right?

But it’s not only the little guys—or the commonly associated backwoods folk—producing white lightning. Companies like Ole Smoky, Buffalo Trace and Jim Beam have started marketing the powerful corn liquor to the masses. Believe it or not, people definitely don’t hate it.

The next time you run across a bottle of hooch in your local liquor store, pick it up and try it for yourself. If you’re not willing to try the stuff straight, mix up a moonshine cocktail. It’ll put a little hair on your chest.

1. Salted Lemon Shine Margarita


Peach-flavored ’shine and traditional ’shine combine in this easy-on-the-eyes concoction. Taking inspiration from the Margarita, this cocktail from Beautiful Booze combines a salted rim with a mixture of white lightning, Grand Marnier liqueur, fresh lemon juice and lemon sorbet. A little salt ensures that it’s not too sweet, but just the right amount of down-home tasty. Get the recipe.

2. The Asheville Smash


Put a homey spin on the world’s most homegrown liquor with this recipe from Sartorial Exposure. A little mountain dew (not the green soda), homemade strawberry syrup, lemon juice and fresh mint make this cocktail a gardener’s dream. Get the recipe.

3. Full Moon Champagne Cocktail


Feeling festive? Break out the bubbly—and the moonshine—for this recipe from BevMo! Thirsty Times. Or, in this case, three kinds of moonshine: Ole Smoky’s White Lightnin’, Blackberry and Peach. Then add some Champagne and a little sour mix. We can just about guarantee you won’t be drinking Champagne out of a mason jar at any other point in your life. Get the recipe.

4. Raspberry Tarragon Moonshine Smash

Image: 10th Kitchen

Not a combination you expect to find regularly, raspberry and tarragon flip moonshine’s disreputable reputation. This recipe from 10th Kitchen combines that trifecta with sugar, lime bitters and fresh lime juice. Doesn’t look half bad, right? Get the recipe.

5. Stillhouse Heartbreaker

Image: Chilled

This drink from Chilled magazine proves yet again that moonshine and fruit are a friendly match. Combining raspberries, lime juice and agave nectar with the white whiskey and Prosecco, this cocktail also re-establishes the love affair between high-proof spirit and bubbly. It’s a solid choice when trying to woo that soon-to-be special someone. Get the recipe.

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