I was driving downtown the other day and a sign caught my eye: “coming soon, a moonshine bar.”
I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of the sign. A whole bar devoted to moonshine. I’ve seen whiskey bars and martini bars and daiquiri bars, but this will be the first strictly moonshine bar for me. I guess it was only a matter of time. There’s certainly enough stock to choose from. Seems like a new moonshine distiller pops up every month in this area since moonshine started going legal several years ago.
While I’d describe myself as a whiskey fan in general (bourbon, rye, Scotch, Irish…it’s all good to me), I’ve never been a particularly big fan of “the shine.” I’ve had some great moonshine infused with chaga root out of the West Virginia mountains, but most of the properly (read: legally) distilled stuff has reminded me too much of the hand sanitizer I doused myself with constantly when my kids were babies.
I’m prone to making blanket statements that aren’t grounded in any sense of truth or experience, like, “yoga is for people who can’t play sports;” and I’m sure in the past I’ve said something like, “people only drink moonshine because it goes well with banjo music.” Well, I’m here to publicly rescind that statement, because I found a moonshine out of South Carolina that’s downright delightful to drink, no banjos required.
Dark Corner Distillery makes a moonshine that they proclaim right on the bottle is “the world’s best.” I haven’t tried them all yet, but this one would certainly be in the running. The moonshine has a surprisingly round, full body and a complex character that’s highlighted by a bit of sweetness that, somehow, doesn’t feel “sweetened.” There’s a definite “buttery” corn aspect to the liquor, but I’d credit the complexity of this hooch more to Dark Corner’s use of wheat and barley in the mash bill (most moonshine is straight up corn). Oh, and get this—they hand-mash every batch of this stuff. How cool is that?
If most moonshine is often described as “harsh,” Dark Corner is pleasantly smooth. And it comes in at an impressive 100 proof to boot. Have it neat and you can feel the heat and spice of the high proof liquor, but put it over a hunk of ice and that heat fades away, letting the sweet and creamy corn step forward.
Get out your mason jars. This moonshine’s worth a go.