A legacy of simplicity passed down for many generations
STORY BY: JENNIFER BARNETT
PHOTOS BY: EMILY KLINEFELTER
If any of you have had the opportunity to visit our local ABC store, you most likely have seen the large display of Moonshine they have inside. I was curious. What exactly is moonshine? Isn’t it illegal? Isn’t it the stuff in jars that tastes like lighter fluid? Thankfully the General Manager, Todd Dunn, located at the Southport ABC Store at 714 N. Howe St. [(910) 457-6924] knew all the answers…
He was more than helpful. He offered to sit down with me to tell me a little about Moonshine. I was concerned that it was going to be all technical and complicated. I pictured myself dizzy with confusion! On the contrary. …
Moonshine is simply whiskey that has not been aged. Once you age moonshine in barrels it takes on that golden color and the subtle flavors from the wood, to become Whiskey. I was thrilled to find out it was that simple. Made with corn, sugar, yeast and water; moonshine or white whiskey is becoming more and more common on the shelves of liquor stores. There are more than 34 distilleries in North Carolina alone and of those, 90% are legally producing and selling moonshine. Catdaddy Moonshine of Piedmont Distillers in Madison, NC was the first to legally produce moonshine in our state. Since then, the year 2005, others have followed suit, ranging from 70 proof to 130 proof. Now we have multiple flavors to choose from.
Our local ABC store carries 7 or 8 of the possible 10 plus flavors available from several different distilleries. You can have your choice of peach, blueberry, apple pie, black- berry, black cherry and more. Definitely try Call Familys’ Uncatchable Sour Mash Moonshine in strawberry; it’s on my “must try” list. Todd says if you can’t find what you want in the store just ask, they can most likely get it for you in a few days (That includes everything not just moonshine).
The Southport store has a great staff that is willing to help you find anything you need. They don’t mind if you take your time to look around. And look around you should! There are so many flavors to choose from and pretty bottles to look at. And distilleries are coming out with new recipes all the time! Moonshine is not just a back wood, out of a jar kind of a drink anymore. “It’s a drink for everyone,” said Todd. The quality is high and the flavor is smooth. It can be enjoyed in a mixed drink or straight up.
Todd had a lot of information on NC distilleries. He is focused on adding to his already large NC Section, you can’t miss it as you walk in the front door! He also was able to tell me about the distilleries that are using their success to support charities. For example, Sundog 130 donates a percentage of their profits to the local animal rescue and Hell Hound supports Wounded Warrior Project with part of their proceeds.
I really wanted to taste some of the different moonshines and with so many to choose from Todd suggested I start at a nearby distillery and take a tour and a tasting. I thought, what a great idea! On a beautiful Friday morning my husband, Phil, my nieces, Emily and Chelsea, and I hopped in the car and headed to Broadslab Distillery located at 4834 HWY 50 South in Benson NC.
Many of you have most likely passed a sign for Benson or have seen it on a map when on your way to Raleigh. It’s a neat little town and just a few miles off the exit is the beautiful distillery complete with polished wood and a shiny tin roof that sits on over 100 acres of manicured cornfields and natural woodlands. The renovated buildings have all been in the family for generations, as well as the land. Broadslab Distillery, owned by Jeremy Norris, is a perfect excuse take a drive to the country!
Broadslab Distillery offers tours and tastings at their location. For a small fee they will take you and your party on a relaxing ride down the old “Broadslab road”, the inspiration behind their name, to the distillery where Jeremy will personally give you a tour. He is surprisingly forth giving when it comes to the production of his spirits. The tour is very informative peppered with stories of his family, especially his father and grandfather.
There is a passion for perfection that has clearly been handed down through the generations. Moonshine may not be your family legacy, but there are some who have stories dating back to their great, great, great “granddaddy”. And once you get past the ridiculous stumbling and bumbling of the bib -overall -wearing fellas on TV, you will realize that there is a culture of proud, talented, moonshiners running distilleries here in NC.
Every bottle of Moonshine (Rum, too!) that leaves Broadslab Distillery begins its journey on the very land the distillery is on. “We call it dirt-to-bottle”, explains Jeremy. There are no additives of any kind. They have a few simple ingredients and they grow the corn on the property. After the distilling process, that Jeremy personally oversees; he bottles the spirits personally as well. After getting to know Jeremy on the tour, there is comfort in knowing who made the very bottle you are getting at the store. There is so much pride in what he does that perfection is always the result. It is all natural, organic, non-GMO; made with nothing artificial. It is the real deal!
There are so many distilleries in NC and I vow to eventually try them all but after my morning trip to Benson, I have a new friend and a new favorite country get-a- way. I recommend you all go visit Jeremy and his staff at Broadslab. They are wonderful, knowledgeable people. I promise you will make a new friend, too. You can also visit their website, broadslabdistillery.com, or their Facebook page, face- book.com/BroadslabDistillery.
During the month of our Independence celebrations, heritage and family fill our days. But several things come to mind when thinking about summer nights. The sounds, smells and colors bring to mind days of the past, tradition and Americana in general. Books and movies help create a picture of sitting on the front porch with generations of family watching lightning bugs and shooting stars.
When thoughts settle on tradition and summer breezes through the trees think about Moonshine! The ultimate family recipe passed down from father to son to grandson and on.
We had the opportunity to taste Broadslab’s selection of- dirt-to-bottle creations and let me just say, I have a new favorite! I am fascinated with how just a few ingredients tweaked ever so slightly can change the look and taste of this moonshine. With a little patience Jeremy can create his golden Reserve from his crystal clear shine.
With some creativity he is able to flavor his moonshine with natural ingredients to the taste of apple pie! They were all smooth and surprisingly tasty. I preferred the clear crisp taste of the Shine, while the others leaned towards the smoky taste of the Reserve. But ultimately the Apple Pie Moonshine prevailed and apparently many visitors to the tasting room agree. What ever your tastes may be, there is an option for you, and the possibilities for mixed cocktails are endless. Most restaurants in our area do not offer moonshine but perhaps a friendly request could convince them to expand their options! Just the gluten-free advantage is a hit for me and I’m sure many others. Until then, here are a few examples of cocktails you can make at home!
The Recipe Box
Got moonshine? Here are some delicious recipes to turn you into a moonshine aficionado
Watermelon Mint Shine
2 oz. moonshine
1 oz. agave nectar (simple syrup if you can’t find it)
3 chunks of watermelon
3 lime wedges
5 mint leaves
Muddle the mint leaves, lime wedges and agave nectar in a mixing glass. Add ice, watermelon and moonshine and shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and watermelon slice.
The Salty Apple
2 oz. Apple Pie moonshine
2 oz. Grapefruit juice
Build the cocktail in a salt-rimmed Old Fashioned glass over ice. Stir, and garnish with a lime wheel.
1 part apple pie moonshine
1/2 part original moonshine
1 part red wine
1/4 part Triple Sec
2 parts orange juice
Chopped fruit of your choice
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl, and let refrigerate overnight (or about 12 hours). Serve in wineglasses, over ice if desired.
Apple Pie Moonshine Cocktail
4 oz Apple Pie Moonshine
4 oz apple juice
2 oz cinnamon simple syrup (recipe below) 1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
Apple slices, to garnish
Cinnamon sticks, to garnish
Cinnamon Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
In a cocktail shaker, combine apple pie moonshine, apple juice, cinnamon simple syrup, and lemon juice. Fill shaker 2/3 full of ice. Stir for 10-15 seconds to chill drink. Strain ice. Serve cocktail with new ice. Garnish with sliced apples and cinnamon sticks.
Cinnamon Simple Syrup –
In a medium sauce pot, add water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover pot and let mixture steep for 30 minutes. Strain out cinnamon sticks. Allow cinnamon simple syrup to cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.
This apple pie moonshine cocktail really resembles the flavors of apple pie. The cocktail is super smooth and ridiculously easy to drink. Serves 2.
2 oz. moonshine
1 oz. each lime juice,
simple syrup and triple sec
Put all ingredients into a shaker with ice, shake vigorously. Pour over ice in a salt- rimmed Ball jar. Garnish with a slice of lime.