Born From Necessity

“Rules are meant to be broken” is how the saying goes. Or in the case of moonshining, sometimes laws. Ole Smoky Moonshine finally broke through the law, becoming the first federally licensed distillery in East Tennessee. Jars of Ole Smoky Moonshine can be purchased today, coming in 12 flavors including Original, Apple Pie, White Lightnin’, Watermelon and Sweet Tea. The distillery, called “The Holler” and based in Gatlinburg, is available for tours and also serves as a concert venue. Ole Smoky even offers several recipes to make at [... more]

Majoring in Moonshine

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to advance your knowledge—your spirits knowledge, that is. Forget going back to grad school. Instead, consider getting that higher education fill via the daylong enthusiast workshops at Distilled Spirits Epicenter’s Moonshine University in Louisville, Kentucky, to learn everything you need to know about distilling. (It’s cheaper than a full–on degree and a whole lot more fun, I’d wager.) There are also shorter, two-hour classes for those who want a quick primer on bourbon or gin, and the five-day [... more]

Blue Flames and Bluegrass

Palmetto Moonshine Distillery in Anderson, South Carolina, uses the color blue prominently on its Web site and its logo, which seems natural. After all, good moonshine has a blue flame when lit. I’d rather drink it, though. I took a trip to the distillery to sip on genuine white lightning and take the tour.  The old warehouse in downtown Anderson is at least a century old and the copper still is a thing of beauty. Stop by to check out the rustic charm of this once-illegal distilling [... more]

Legendary Spirit

Donner-Peltier Distillers, based in Thibodaux, Louisiana, crafts six products, all made from Louisiana sugarcane or rice. Though the LA 1 Whiskey is near and dear to my heart, the spirit that stands out the most is the Rougaroux 13 Pennies praline rum. The Rougaroux gets its name from a “bogeyman” creature found in Cajun folklore. According to legend, the Rougaroux can only count to 12, so you can leave 13 pennies by your door to keep him out. While the name may be foreboding, the drink is [... more]

Bourbon’s Best-Kept Secret

While Jim Beam and Wild Turkey definitely represent some of the more well–known names along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, the family-owned Willett Distillery (on the Trail’s Craft Tour) might just cook up the best bourbon around. In operation since 1937, the distillery produced the first batch of 30 barrels on St. Patrick’s Day of that year. A couple of years back, I was bumming along the trail with my husband and cousins on a holiday weekend when master distiller Drew Kulsveen saw that I had tweeted from [... more]

Vodka Made for the South

Not much reminds me of the South more than the sweet aroma of honeysuckle in the thick, humid air. The Cathead Distillery in Madison, Mississippi, is known for supporting live music—and for their Honeysuckle Vodka that needs no mixer. But it can create some pretty amazing cocktails. Distilled six times in small batches, the finished product can’t be duplicated. Cathead distiller Phillip Ladner showcases this unique liquor in a cocktail called the Show Pony, which consists of mint, black pepper simple syrup, Cathead Honeysuckle, and ginger ale. [... more]

Texas Born From Texas Corn

I decided to drive through the Lone Star State to find out more about a distillery that has recently gained serious acclaim in the small town of Hye, just an hour west of Austin. The Garrison Brothers Distillery had me fired up to witness the authenticity of the first and oldest legal whiskey distillery in the state of Texas. I took a tour of the facilities on a Friday night for $10 and tasted their award-winning whiskey, wine, and moonshine. Passion was evident each step of the [... more]