Firefly Moonshine ($20)
Firefly Moonshine was born on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, on a tree-lined road where good ole southern tradition met a distillery that’s been decidedly meticulous in its moonshine output since its beginnings. (Which, if you didn’t know, is what you want.)
These dudes were brewing Firefly for themselves way before they released their baby to the public; even so, they remain the first and largest moonshine distillery in South Carolina, offering top quality moonshine with a flavor for every occasion. No, seriously: Firefly Moonshine comes in White Lightning, Apple Pie, Caramel, Cherry, Peach, Strawberry and Blackberry flavors. Just don’t try them all at once.
CatDaddy Carolina Moonshine ($20)
CatDaddy’s “secret” blend of natural and artificial fruit flavors makes it taste a lot like an 80-proof liqueur: Smooth, fruity, and slightly medicinal. It blends nicely with bourbon or aged rum (just keep in mind you’re mixing two strong alcohols), though lemon juice battles the cherry flavors here, so go don’t go overboard on the citrus.
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine ($35)
You should check out Ole Smoky because it has a cool name, because it comes in a mason jar, and because you’ll be slugging liquid history — Ole Smoky is made in what was the first federally licensed distillery in East Tennessee (Gatlinberg to be exact). More evidence of its impressive pedigree? The 100-proof spirit is made by longtime Maker’s Mark distiller Dave Pickerell.
Stillhouse Original Moonshine ($40)
For starters, we love this bottle. Plus, the quadruple distilled, Virginia-based spirit is certainly cocktail-friendly. The charcoal filtering removes bitterness and adds some sweetness. So even though the copper pot distilling process has supposedly been “passed down discreetly for hundreds of years,” the brainchild of entrepreneur Brad Beckerman and NYC chef Adam Perry Lang has a very contemporary feel.
Kings County Moonshine ($20)
An excellent choice for tree huggers and locavores, Kings County is the self-proclaimed first legal New York City whiskey distillery since Prohibition. It employs organic New York corn and a little malted Scottish barley for body. This distillery is so small (there are five eight-gallon pot stills sitting in a Brooklyn loft, producing a little more than two gallons of Kings County per day each) that merely owning a bottle will give you booze cred.
Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon ($20)
This moonshine — made by NASCAR legend and former bootlegger Junior Johnson — goes through a triple-distillation process that results in a surprisingly smooth, spicy/nutty white spirit, with a nose that’s only slightly reminiscent of cleaners. More like a soft gin than a vodka, this puppy gives almost no burn if yer slammin’ it straight.