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Folklore: Moonshine (2)

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Folklore: Moonshine (50) (closed)


Beer 14 Oct 02 - 09:43 PM
Bill D 14 Oct 02 - 10:34 PM
Robin2 14 Oct 02 - 10:39 PM
Max 14 Oct 02 - 11:30 PM
Jim Krause 14 Oct 02 - 11:39 PM
Robin2 14 Oct 02 - 11:44 PM
Kaleea 15 Oct 02 - 01:33 AM
Seamus Kennedy 15 Oct 02 - 02:24 AM
Sandy Paton 15 Oct 02 - 03:44 AM
GUEST,Gern 15 Oct 02 - 10:32 AM
Metchosin 15 Oct 02 - 11:07 AM
Mark Clark 15 Oct 02 - 12:35 PM
Jim Krause 15 Oct 02 - 01:01 PM
catspaw49 15 Oct 02 - 01:18 PM
Mark Clark 15 Oct 02 - 04:25 PM
khandu 15 Oct 02 - 04:27 PM
Big Mick 15 Oct 02 - 05:55 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 02 - 06:09 PM
Beer 15 Oct 02 - 10:28 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 15 Oct 02 - 10:49 PM
GUEST 15 Oct 02 - 11:03 PM
Seamus Kennedy 16 Oct 02 - 12:03 AM
mack/misophist 16 Oct 02 - 01:08 AM
Deckman 16 Oct 02 - 04:26 AM
Deckman 18 Oct 02 - 06:01 PM
GUEST 19 Oct 02 - 01:38 PM
Coyote Breath 20 Oct 02 - 02:19 AM
EBarnacle1 20 Oct 02 - 03:03 AM
Joe Offer 24 Apr 13 - 09:16 PM
Rapparee 24 Apr 13 - 09:23 PM
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Subject: Obit: Moonshine
From: Beer
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 09:43 PM

Any good stories?


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Subject: RE: Obit: Moonshine
From: Bill D
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 10:34 PM

he means, did anyone YOU know die from it...*grin*


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Subject: RE: Obit: Moonshine
From: Robin2
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 10:39 PM

Had some last year...almost, but not quite died the next day

Have a whole gallon of the stuff in my pantry (any revenue sorts here?)


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Subject: RE: Moonshine
From: Max
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 11:30 PM

Sorry if I jumped the gun editing this thread, but I just figured all the news of late that we not mess with the OBIT concept. I for one am heartbroken, and would rather not have to break up another stupid fight over a misunderstanding right now.

My old man was a railroader his whole life. Hauled a good bit of coal out of West Virginia in his day. Folks always seemed to give him a bottle as some sort of gratitude or initiation. He wasn't one to refuse their gratitude or their business, so he'd save the stuff, and bring it up to our cabin for hunting season. It'd bring out the best in a man…


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Subject: RE: Moonshine
From: Jim Krause
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 11:39 PM

Was offered some once upon a time. Stuff smelled so strongly that I passed on it. I think I would probably much prefer the legit stuff. At least I know where it comes from.

Jim


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Subject: RE: Moonshine
From: Robin2
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 11:44 PM

Max,

My Grandpa was a railroader too (conductor on the L&N for 35 years)

The main thing he stopped the train for wasn't moonshine, but blackberry cobbler from his soon to be bride.

Robin


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Kaleea
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 01:33 AM

My mother told me that in her tiny "Biblebelt" hometown, when she was a kid, there was a lady who lived just outside of town who was the local "Moonshine" dealer during the dry times (& after, too!). She said everybody in the county & miles around knew about it, including the local sherrif. Knowing how the folks in the town were mostly teetotalers, I was shocked that the Baptist preacher (well known for his hellfire & damnation sermons of the evils of drink, music & dance) allowed it! She replied, "Who do you think he got his 'shine from?"


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 02:24 AM

Big Mick,
What did you think of the stuff in Muskegon?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 03:44 AM

My late business partner in Folk-Legacy, Lee Haggerty, told of spending a night drinking 'shine with Hamper McBee, an old pro at the game, in East Tennessee. They finally gave it up and Lee sacked out on the floor in a sleeping bag. Early in the morning, Hamper came into the room, leaned over, and offered Lee another pull from the jug. "Jesus, Hamper," Lee moaned. "Not before breakfast!" Hamper shook the Mason jar a bit and said, "Aw shit, Lee! Don't you see that pork chop in there?"

When I was recording folks on Beech Mountain, North Carolina, one of my "informants" offered me some home-made peach brandy. Pure fire! I asked him where he got it and was told, "One of my best friends is a deputy sheriff. Whenever he takes in some of the really good stuff, he always saves a little for me." My informant kept it in the hayloft of his barn, firmly convinced that his wife didn't know about it. Wrong, of course. She just chose to go along with the pretense when it seemed he had to go out to check on the heifer several times every evening.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: GUEST,Gern
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 10:32 AM

When I lived in the Kentucky area, I found it floating freely at the bluegrass festivals I attended. It tends to propel picking parties into late hours. Once had grape flavored shine, which my camping neighbors used to wash down the boar's head they were slow-roasting. Alas, too many of those late night jam sessions, fueled by high octane shine, deteriorated into shouting matches, Rebel yells in the pre-dawn hours, and an alarming propensity to shoot off their guns for no reason. Nonetheless, I have some pleasant, albeit foggy memories of moonshine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Metchosin
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 11:07 AM

My great grandfather spent two years in the BC Penitentiary for brewing the stuff. Gee, maybe the family would have ended up with the money empire of the Bronfmans and the Seagrams, if he hadn't been caught. Rumor had it that there was almost a general strike in Nanaimo BC, when the tap ran dry. Interesting the parellel in people's behavior in the coal mining areas of the Appalacians and Vancouver Island on the other side of the continent. Knew there must have been a reason that I was so enamoured of Steve Earle's Copperhead Road, its in the blood.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 12:35 PM

Back when I was a lad, I had a job at the Ford Assembly Plant on Chicago's South Side (130th & Torrence). It was the midnight shift and this particular job involved sorting and stacking empty 55 gal. paint drums out in the yards so they could be recycled and reused. During the winter months the wind blew up the Calumet Harbor and across those yards with a cold ferocity the memory of which still makes me shiver as I think about it.

Another fellow worked out there along side me. He was from a small town near Lynchburg, Tennessee, home of Jack Daniels Distillery. He told me that nearly everyone in that county made whisky and they either worked for Jack Daniels or they didn't. He had worked as a deputy sheriff down there but said there was never much trouble about 'shine unless someone decided to lower the price. As soon as the others learned of the lower price, he'd get a call at the sheriff's office complaining that the offender—let's call him George—was making whiskey up in a holler somewhere and “Just what was the Sheriff going to do about it anyway?”

Of course in that setting, everyone knew everyone else and My friend, because of his official duties, probably knew more people than most. Still, he was obliged to take action on specific citizen complaints but he understood the motivation and didn't want to cause any undue hardship on the family or attract any unnecessary attention to the county's primary industry so he'd call George and tell him: “George this is Deputy Smith. We've had a complaint that you're engaged in making illegal whiskey over in the holler and we're going to have come up there about three o'clock tomorrow afternoon and investigate.

George would then know that he had a day to tear down his still and replace it with some old junk that the Sheriff could come along and smash. George would be out of business for the time it took to relocate the still and get a new mash going and this economic setback also served as sound business advice about the going price for whiskey.

My friend went to great lengths to explain the setup favored by the local business men. They never put the mash directly over the fire but instead put a copper boiler over the fire that contained pure water. The mash was kept in wooden barrels. The steam was piped from the boiler into the base of the barrel containing the mash and another pipe came out the top of the sealed mash barrel and into the bottom of an empty and sealed wooden barrel he called a thumper keg. Another thumper keg was attached in the same way and finally, the condensing coil. The mash they made was a “sweet” corn mash capped with rye and the whiskey they produced was most excellent. My friend, like many of the unskilled workers in the industrial area from Chicago to South Bend, drove home to Tennessee nearly every weekend and back north to be on the job again on Monday. Needless to say, he often returned with fruit jars full of this wonderful nectar which we used to make the winter nights in the barrel yards far more tollerable than they might otherwise have been.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Jim Krause
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 01:01 PM

Mark, now that sounds like the way to make proper whiskey. I have my suspicions that the stuff I declined in KY was probably paint stripper in disguise.

Jim


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 01:18 PM

We've talked a good bit about shine around here, but we never mention, when talkin' about shine, that there are certain things done or said....and others not said or done. Awhile back I was writing another "Paw and Cletus" tale and some shine popped up in it which happens in their stories. It occurred to me then that that there are some protocols observed.

If the maker or provider of the brew is present, you never comment on any negative quality of the shine. As a matter of fact, it really doesn't matter if you're choking to death, temporarily blind, your diaphragm is in spasms, and your throat and esophagus feel as if they have just dealt the ass end of a Saturn rocket. As soon as possible (when you quit convulsing, coughing, your vision has returned, and you can speak....sorta') you must say that one word......."Smooth."

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Mark Clark
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 04:25 PM

Well, I can see I should have posted that story in the deja vu thread. I had a feeling I'd posted pieces of that tale here before so I did a search but came up with nothing. Now I see I did indeed post it nearly two years ago in the first of these moonshine threads.

Sorry for the redundancy.

      - Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: khandu
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 04:27 PM

"My daddy, he made whiskey,
My grandaddy did it too,
We ain't paid no whiskey tax
Since 1792
We just lay there by the junipers
while the moon is bright
And watch them jugs a'fillin'
In the pale moon light!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Big Mick
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 05:55 PM

Seamus...............I have sampled poitín from many parts of Ireland (the lads always managed to sneak a wee bottle of the pure drop home for me on their visits), as well as some wonderful corn licker from North Carolina and other parts of the South. None..........I repeat..........none was the equal of that lovely stuff that you hauled out at the Michigan Irish Music Festival!!!! I would dearly love to get my hands on more of that.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 06:09 PM

In New Mexico during prohibition days, there was a judge from Kentucky on the bench of the federal court. Plenty of booze came down the Rockies from Canada, but he was a fan of real bourbon. He always seemed to know the local moonshines. When one of the pocket distillers did get caught, he would have his case heard in the federal court. If the quality of the white lightning was high, some technicality or another got the case thrown out. If the product was bad, the distiller had the book thrown at him. This judge was a poker buddy of my grandfather, so we got a lot of stories. I was only a wee tad in short pants so unfortunately I don't remember them (or didn't understand them). He maintained that Canadian Club (the most common brand on the pipeline from Canada) ranked with the poorest of the moonshine.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Beer
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 10:28 PM

Do you remember " Flip Wilson"? Well if you don't, he used the phrase " The Devil Made Me Do it".
Back when I was around 4 or 5 living on that beautiful Province of Prince Edward Island, Dad had a Mobel T Ford which he placed in a ditch one evening coming home from a visit after fishing. I never forgot that. When I got a little older I came to find out that the house we stopped at was a very good place to get shine. As far as I'm concerned, dad was my hero for that line " The devil made me do it".
1954 we moved to Nova Scotia. The small community was a hornet's nest for bootleggers (Spelling?). Well I guess Dad new what he was doing. In this community of approxmately 300, I counted 52 who ran shine and Malt beer.
Beer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 10:49 PM

More stories than I can tell (shine, wine, beer ...ass, grass, cheer...some to dread, some with lead, some are dead) and if you did read them...they'd have to kill ya.



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 11:03 PM

I remember some of the Maritimes customs. Years ago we arrived in this town on business, without contacts. Our question to the taxi driver was "Where can we get a drink?" He said "You can't." After driving a while he said "Give me ten dollars." We did. He made a stop and brought back a bottle of Black Diamond rum. One of us said that we preferred whiskey. He said rum was the drink in the Maritimes. Then he asked if we wanted to go somewhere to drink it and we said yes. He took us to the Elks Club where we became instant members. I think most of the men in town were there. We bought mixers. I vaguely remember that the taxi driver made another trip (or so) but the rest of the night is a blank. The next day as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 16 Oct 02 - 12:03 AM

Mick, that drop came from Co. Antrim, and it's as good as, if not better than some of the poitin from Connemara or Kerry.
By the way, have any 'Catters sampled the new 'yuppie' moonshines which are flavored like Absolut vodkas?
I've had Jalapeno pepper, and blackcurrant and peach flavored 'shine, but they seem kinda wussy drinks to me.
Opinions, anyone?

Seamus


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: mack/misophist
Date: 16 Oct 02 - 01:08 AM

When I got out of boot camp, I spent a week with friends in Oklahoma (I won't say where in case the shiner's still in business) The man was brilliant. For $20 you could bet a gallon of anything in the world, it seemed like. I spent the first night eating apricots off the tree and drinking 20 year old single malt Campbell Town Scotch. No shit. They kept a bottle of the real thing to compare. What I drank was 2 weeks old. The man was a genius.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Deckman
Date: 16 Oct 02 - 04:26 AM

I can't just read these stories without adding mine. Years ago, about 71, I was FORCED to participate in a raid on a local moonshiner! True story ... I worked in the Public Works Dept of a very small town close to Seattle. It shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. Occasionally, one of us would have to pull "standby duty," meaning that everynight for a week, we took the city "standby" truck home, instead of our own car. As that truck was equipped to deal with every emergancy, water main breaks, plugged sewers, etc., whoever pulled "standby duty" was on call, all night for whatever emergency occured.

This one night, I was called by the Police Chief. He gave me an address and told me to be there in one hour. I showed up, and the home was full of local Police, and officers wearing "ATF" jackets. "ATF" stood for Alcohol. Tabacco and Firearms. They had just busted the homeowner for selling "shine."

They were in the process of tearing up his living room paneling, where he had many bottles stashed. I was orded to open the man hole cover of the sewer in front of his house, and to start pouring the bottles into the sewer. First, I had to radio the operator of the sewage treatment plant to look out for what was coming down the line. That stuffs flammable, you know!

The next Monday morning, ALL the city employees were herded into a meeting at city hall, where we were lectured by ATF agents about the evils of unlawful booze. We were then all invited, to come privatly and speak to an agent about how much we had purchased and when ... so they could build their case against him. As I recall, no one came forward, but there sure were a lot of very nervous people, including the City Manager.

What was really sad about this whole business, was that the week before the bust, I'd been singing goofy songs in the mooshiners home! This is all a true story, I couldn't invent this story if I wanted to! CHEERS, Bob(deckman)Nelson


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Deckman
Date: 18 Oct 02 - 06:01 PM


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Oct 02 - 01:38 PM

Stationed in a post near Muskogee, Oklahoma, for a year, I fondly remember the gentlemen bootleggers of that state.
My first job after college was in Tulsa, also in that state. The woman who rented us a house gave us the name of a neighborhood bootlegger along with the keys, etc. As mesophist said, they could provide anything. Just give them the name and the vintage and you would have it in a day, usually. They brought it in from neighboring Arkansas, where laws were liberal and taxes low, and variety was excellent.
When sales became legal in Oklahoma, prices went up because of the taxes, and it was hard to get the exact booze you wanted (like specific malts). Over coffee and office canvassing, we would make up a communal list, and one of us would drive over to Arkansas.

The loss of our bootleggers was like the loss of a dear friend. They deserve an imposing monument for their important contribution to society.


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: Coyote Breath
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 02:19 AM

My Daddy he made whiskey
My Granddaddy he did too
We ain't had no sober relatives
Since back 'fore world war two!

I once had some moonshine offered to three of us down from Chicago for the Mountain View Folk life thingy (dogwood festival, I believe it was called then). Fella offered it to us was a retired county judge(Stone county, in Arkansas). It was a very pale yellow, he said because it had been kept in a charred cask before being recanted into the old wine bottle he held out to us. With NO exaggeration I can say it WAS smooth and very potent! I also had some in Northeastern Alabama from a bootlegger around Sand Mountain, Georgia. It was OK but still had a bit of a bite to it.

I've been tempted to cut a little still myself, especially after reading about the art of making whiskey in Foxfire. Being as I do re-enactments, making a gallon or two of moonshine seems a worthwhile "historical" project.

If it can be located, listen to the New Lost City Ramblers' album, "Songs of Moonshine and Prohibition". Some real nice tunes there.

CB


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Subject: RE: BS: Moonshine (2)
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 20 Oct 02 - 03:03 AM

In the early 70's, I was a Citroen dealer. Some of the older Cit's had no heaters,s they were an option in that period. Once, I borrowed one to run up to Maine for Christmas. This was an extremely clapped out car. Even though it ran, it was not worth retrofitting with a heater. Along the road, I picked up a hitchhiker, a construction worker also headed for Maine to visit his family for the holidays. He had been working in Tennessee. When we got to talking, he mentioned that he had some very fine 'corn' with him and, as there was not heater, we had to provide our own heat. It was truly "smooth" and, even though the temperature was well below freezing, it kept us warm. In fact, it kept me warm all the way to my friends' place. Of course, I would never do such a thing today [it says here].


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Moonshine (2)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 09:16 PM

I have reopened these threads and moved them to the "Folklore" category because there is almost nothing more important to American folklore than moonshine.

I've lived 64 years now, and I have felt my life as a folk musician was incomplete because I had never tasted moonshine. I have had poteen, compliments of my wayward Irish priest; but not moonshine. I was a little afraid to seek it out when I was in Sevier County in the hills of Tennesee, just west of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now Sevier County is supposed to be the center of illegal moonshine in the U.S. The area is full of mysterious little "hollers" where a California tourist might go and never come back.

I was born a Detroiter and my ancestors never remembered what side of the river they lived on, so Stroh's Fire-Brewed Beer and Canadian Whisky and Vernor's Ginger Ale are the traditional beverages of my family. But I went to my local BevMo yesterday, and found that the Canadian Whisky selection had been condensed, and replaced by a wide selection of moonshine and corn whisky. What I saw first were all sorts of fruit-flavored moonshines, and I couldn't believe those were authentic in any way - were they? The store clerk pointed me to a shelf behind me, and there were a number of corn-based products claiming to be authentic moonshine or corn whisky. I asked what was most authentic, and the clerk directed me to something called Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon - copper still, triple distilled from corn, 80 proof; produced and bottled by Piedmont Distillers in Madison, North Carolina (quite a way across the Smoky Mountains from Sevier County).

So, hey, I had to do it. It didn't seem quite right that it was legal, but I forked over an outrageous twenty bucks and bought a bottle. It's like they had finally crossed the last barrier and gentrified moonshine. But hey, this was a way to approximate the experience with reasonable assurance that there wasn't anything in this moonshine that would kill me. So....I took it home and poured a little bit into a Mason jar (gotta have the Mason jar, ya know). I smelled it - yuck, kinda like paint thinner. I took a sip - tasted like paint thinner too (not that I'm accustomed to drinking paint thinner. So...I decided I wasted my twenty bucks.

But hey, I can't waste my money, so I poured myself a little Mason jar of the stuff this afternoon - and now it tastes pretty good. Here's what it says on the back of the bottle:

    Midnight Moon

    Proudly Made by our Very Own Hands

    While your great granddaddy was firing up a pipe, Junior Johnson's was firing up a still. Few family recipes carry a jail sentence, but to the Johnson Family, it was a way of life. With the law on his heels, Junior ran the finest moonshine to the dry rural South.

    Midnight Moon follows the Johnson Family, small batch recipe. It's proudly made by our very own hands, and triple distilled to craft a smooth, clean-tasting spirit.

    Copper still, triple distilled from corn, 80 proof
    Produced and bottled by Piedmont Distillers in Madison, North Carolina

I'm guessing Junior Johnson wears a suit and tie nowadays and drives a Cadillac, but oh, well. Junior also sells moonshine in Mason jars in the following flavors: Apple Pie, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry & Strawberry. I'm glad I passed them up, even though the jars were cute. I figure this is the last bottle of moonshine I'll buy in my life, and then I'll go back to Canadian Whisky and craft beers made by former hippies. But you know, this legal moonshine ain't bad - and now I can sing like I know what I'm singin' about.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Moonshine (2)
From: Rapparee
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 09:23 PM

Aw,it can't touch the stuff me and my brother made in New Salem State Park, Illinois. Right in front of literally hundreds of people. Everyone was interested, but only some of the REAL old-timers could tell (by the smell) what was cookin'. After a couple of years we went to distilling water, but it was fun for awhile and we even had a permit from the BATF to do it.

We used Grandpa's personal still (the Sheriff smashed his big one when he busted him back during Prohibition days), and that's now in a museum. That is not to say that we do not have stills still, however.


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