Jump to navigation Jump to search Not to be confused with moonlight. Moonshine was originally a slang term for high-proof distilled spirits that were usually produced guide de l’amateur de whisky PDF, without government authorization. Legal in the United States since 2010, moonshine is defined as « clear, unaged whiskey », typically made with corn mash as its main ingredient.
Moonshine is known by many nicknames in English, including white liquor, white lightning, mountain dew, choop, hooch, homebrew, shiney, white whiskey, and mash liquor. The word « moonshine » is believed to be derived from the term « moonrakers » used for early English smugglers and illegal Appalachian distillers who produced and distributed whiskey. When it was illegal in the United States, moonshine distillation was done at night to avoid discovery. It was especially prominent in the Appalachian area. White whiskey most likely entered the Appalachian region in the late 18th century to early 1800s. By the early 20th century, moonshine became a key source of income for many Appalachian residents because the limited road network made it difficult and expensive to transport corn crops. As a study of farmers in Cocke County, Tennessee, observes: « One could transport much more value in corn if it was first converted to whiskey.
One horse could haul ten times more value on its back in whiskey than in corn. Poorly produced moonshine can be contaminated, mainly from materials used in the construction of the still. Although methanol is not produced in toxic amounts by fermentation of sugars from grain starches, contamination is still possible by unscrupulous distillers using cheap methanol to increase the apparent strength of the product. Former West Virginia moonshiner John Bowman explains the workings of a still. Large bubbles with a short duration indicate a higher alcohol content, while smaller bubbles that disappear more slowly indicate lower alcohol content.
A more reliable method is to use an alcoholmeter or hydrometer. A hydrometer is used during and after the fermentation process to determine the potential alcohol percent of the moonshine, whereas an alcoholmeter is used after the product has been distilled to determine the volume percent or proof. A common folk test for the quality of moonshine was to pour a small quantity of it into a spoon and set it on fire. The theory was that a safe distillate burns with a blue flame, but a tainted distillate burns with a yellow flame.
Practitioners of this simple test also held that if a radiator coil had been used as a condenser, then there would be lead in the distillate, which would give a reddish flame. Varieties of moonshine are produced throughout the world. The Famous Illegal Drink of Yore ». Exploding moonshine: The new golden age of outlaw liquor ». Illegal Odyssey: 200 Years of Kentucky Moonshine. It’s All Legal Until You Get Caught: Moonshining in the Southern Appalachians ». Moonshine: A Cultural History of America’s Infamous Liquor.