Are you interested in learning about the history of moonshine? Whether you are from the Smoky Mountain area or you’re just visiting our lovely state, you’ve likely heard the term before — or you may have heard stories about ancestors who made it themselves. We’ll explore the history of this unique drink below as well as the following points:
Moonshine, a strong, high-proof alcoholic drink that was historically brewed at home, used to be illegal for various reasons. It was commonly brewed in the Appalachian and Smoky Mountain regions in the United States, though brewing alcohol at home from grains likely originated thousands of years ago. Many alcohol producers created a covert, black-market industry of creating and selling moonshine, “bathtub gin”, and other creative names for simple home-brewed drinks during the Prohibition Era.
You may have heard the term “bootlegger” as well. These were individuals who distributed and sold the moonshine. While moonshine is no longer illegal for establishments to sell, you may get in trouble if you try to brew drinks in your bathtub for commercial distribution! Thankfully, making apple pie moonshine with store-bought ingredients and letting aging and flavoring perform a little bit of magic on your fall-inspired moonshine is perfectly legal. Read through our recipe suggestions below and join us for a tour if you’re in the area.
The idea of flavored moonshine may have made your ancestors raise an eyebrow — but they didn’t know what they were missing! Our flavored moonshine drinks range from cotton candy to pumpkin spice to root beer float. Don’t let our happy colors and cute names fool you: Our alcohol ranges from 16-67% proof. We take our moonshine creation seriously, and we’re one of the only licensed moonshine distilleries in the area.
If you’re wondering what kind of occasion you may use apple pie moonshine for, we have some suggestions. Though we like to serve it in disposable shot glasses at parties, it’s perfectly acceptable for seasonal events, holidays, and small, intimate gatherings with close friends and family. Don’t let the lack of social events deter you from having fun with your moonshine, either. If you and your spouse want to do an experiment and create your own moonshine, age it in the back of your pantry and sample it after your kids go to bed one night, that’s totally up to you.
Are you ready to create your own moonshine? Making apple pie moonshine for the fall can give you a taste — both literally and figuratively — of what those in the Smoky Mountain region did a century ago to serve alcohol to their friends and family. Follow the steps below to make your own:
Don’t worry about getting arrested for making this kind of moonshine at home. It’s easy to find the ingredients at the liquor store or in your own cabinet. When you use this method to make apple pie moonshine, you will simply be combining ingredients, letting them sit for a while so that the grain alcohol can absorb the apple pie flavoring. You’ll need the following supplies for this recipe:
Combine your ingredients and get ready to sit back and let nature do its thing! Ideally, you’ll wait for three weeks to let the flavors really meld together, but two is OK too. There isn’t any fermentation going on here, but the longer you let the apple pie flavors soak into the grain alcohol, the better your homemade moonshine drinks will taste.
After your waiting period is up, you’ll likely want a taste of your brew! We like to serve this moonshine as shots, and it’s great for use in disposable shot glasses at a party. You may also want to try mixing in ginger ale to create a sparkling cocktail that is not quite as strong as the original moonshine drink. Remember, you’re not brewing and fermenting alcohol here — you are simply letting the grain alcohol soak up the flavor of apple pie. This is the easiest way to make your own “moonshine” at home. We hope you enjoy it!
We realize that you may not have made your own drinks by combining and aging materials at home before. Read through our FAQs below and get in touch with our bartenders if you have questions.
Technically, moonshine making was a free-for-all in a time when alcohol was made outside of the rule of law, so we suppose you could use whatever you found in your pantry — but we definitely wouldn’t recommend it. Other clear drinks such as vodka, sake, or tequila will give your apple pie moonshine a sour taste rather than be masked by the sweetness of the sugar and the apple juice.
Go with unflavored grain alcohol for the best results, and be forewarned not to drink this grain alcohol by itself. It’s meant to be an ingredient rather than a drink to enjoy. The awesome thing about this type of alcohol is that because it is unflavored (meaning that no flavors have been infused, not that it has no taste), it can easily absorb whatever you put in it. It’s the perfect base for apple pie moonshine.
on’t overheat your moonshine, or it may evaporate! There’s really nothing you can do to speed up the process of the moonshine’s flavors mixing together. Not even a pressure cooker. Trust us: You’ll be super pleased with the result when you follow the instructions as written.
We recommend that you start with a combination of as much alcohol and apple juice as you think your guests will drink and then decide how many mason jars it will fit into. You’ll do well to stock the following accessories before you start making your moonshine:
Whether y’all are local to the area or just passing by, you’ll be sorry you missed out on a genuine moonshine tour! Come visit us at any of our four locations (Wears Valley, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, or Gatlinburg) to learn more about moonshine production, its history, and its relevance to Tennessee culture today. Contact us with questions or inquiries about the tour.