what does moonshine taste like?

Moonshine is a type of alcohol, namely high-content distilled spirits, that are made at home. Traditionally, the slang term moonshine referred to liquids like this that we made illegally.

However, today, there are many legal moonshine productions around the world.  

When you are first presented with the idea of trying moonshine, you might be put off by horror stories that often circulate the internet about how potent this drink can be.

But much like any rumour you see online, you should take this with a pinch of salt.  

So what does moonshine taste like? Let’s find out.  

What Does Real Moonshine Taste Like? 

Real moonshine that is produced legally, often in rural towns in the USA, has a very smooth taste.

Many people are concerned that moonshine will have an overpowering taste that burns as it goes down but this isn’t always the case.  

In truth, the taste of the moonshine will largely depend on the person that has made it. Homebrewers will follow various recipes that will differ massively depending on location and history.  

Does moonshine taste like whiskey? 

If you drink real moonshine that has been made following a traditional recipe, you will notice that there is a very similar taste to whiskey.

This is because traditional moonshine recipes include malt as opposed to sugar, which is often used in illegal production.  

Does Moonshine Burn When You Drink It? 

The answer to this question will depend on how and by who the moonshine has been made. Typically, traditional moonshine made with malt will be much smoother.

However, there may be something of a burning sensation similar to what you would experience when drinking straight whiskey.  

If you do not like this sensation, then there are ways to counteract it.  

Can you drink moonshine straight? 

You can drink moonshine straight, of course, but some people prefer not too. While traditionally, moonshine is sipped directly out of the jar, it can also be drunk as a shot.  

Some people like to take a swig and then take a shot of pickle juice as this will counteract the burning sensation owing to the high levels of salt in the juice.  

If this seems a little too savoury for your liking, it is entirely possible to mix moonshine with coke, lemonade, grapefruit juice, iced tea or anything else that takes your fancy.

Doing this will give you the chance to experiment with making your moonshine sweeter, sourer or more fresh. 

Is It Legal To Make Moonshine At Home? 

Whether you are able to make moonshine legally at home will depend on where you live. In the UK, homebrewers are free to make as much wine and beer as they please.

However, making spirits such as moonshine is not legal without a license. 

In the USA, very similar rules apply to homebrewing. Where making spirits is concerned, you must have a license and most states will only allow residents to produce so much wine or beer each year, so it is worth checking your local laws. 

In Australia, you must also have a license to brew moonshine at home although anyone can purchase the equipment required to make it, without the need to show a license.  

What Percentage Of Alcohol Is Moonshine? 

We have all seen cartoons of people drinking moonshine from bottles labelled with XXX, laying on their backs and looking rather drunk.

But is this a true representation of the drink? Moonshine is a very high-proof beverage, this cannot be denied.  

Typically, moonshine has an alcohol content of around 150 proof; this means that it is around 75% alcohol.  

Corn moonshine, which is the traditional recipe that uses malt which converts into sugar, cannot be brewed any higher than 80% alcohol. But of course, this is very high.  

Can One Sip Of Moonshine Make You Drunk? 

Moonshine has a ridiculously high alcohol content, so we would always advise being mindful about how much you are drinking.  

Your tolerance levels will vary depending on how used to moonshine you are and for how long you have been drinking it as well as your fat levels and body weight.

For people who are trying moonshine for the first time, they may notice the effects very soon after taking a single mouthful.  

However, there are many people who have a shot of moonshine once a day and don’t feel too many ill effects.  

The problem is that you might not notice the sensation of being drunk immediately as the moonshine will need to ‘go down’ first. For this reason, it can take a few minutes to notice.  

It is also vital to keep in mind that homemade moonshine can be potentially life-threatening if the methanol is not removed.  

Why does my moonshine smell bad? 

If you are producing moonshine at home, legally, it is essential that you always dispose of the first bit as this is what contains methanol. If your moonshine smells bad, it is likely that methanol is the culprit.  

By draining the first bit out of the still, you will remove the methanol and be left with moonshine that is safe to drink. Methanol can cause blindness and serious liver and kidney problems.  

Are Everclear And Moonshine The Same Thing? 

Moonshine and Everclear are both types of unaged spirits but there is a key difference. Where moonshine is typically made with corn, Everclear is made with grains. You might more closely compare Everclear to vodka and moonshine to whiskey.  

Furthermore, Everclear is a brand name for one specific type of alcohol that does not have a taste. In contrast, moonshine refers to any alcohol made illegally. 

Conclusion 

Moonshine has been produced illegally for many years but it is possible to obtain a license and brew it on the right side of the law.  

Moonshine, when made correctly, will have a very smooth taste and while it may burn slightly, this can be counteracted by mixing it with other things.  

It is important to remember that this is a very potent drink and should be taken in small amounts.