BreakingModern - Chocolates, flowers and diamonds are so last millennium. Face it: even champagne is a bit dated.
Isn’t it time you blazed new trails for Valentine’s Day? In his bachelor days, my brother used to say, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.” Actually, he still says it! Nothing can make us think we’re in love quicker than 100-proof moonshine. Especially now that moonshine is brewed in storefront distilleries that pay taxes, instead of being cooked out in the woods by moonlight (though that is certainly romantic).
But how do you choose the right hooch for your honey? I contacted two South Carolina micro-distillers for tips. Since they pay taxes and operate by daylight, you might argue that they sell “Dayshine” or “Legalshine,” but that’s just semantics. If it tastes like moonshine, it’s moonshine, right?
For Valentines Between 21 and 30, Think Sweet or World’s Best
John Connelly of Copperhead Mountain Distillery (“Copper Mountain”) and Casey Long of Dark Corner Distillery (“Dark Corner”) in Greenville agree that younger drinkers often gravitate toward sweeter, flavored Moonshines that are less than 100-proof.
“Younger drinkers like our 50-proof product they are naturally flavored. They can drink them straight and they’re not as strong, or they can mix in ice cream or make breakfast dishes with our peach and other flavors. They can do all kinds of stuff,” said Connelly, who is the owner/distiller at the mom-pop- and daughter-run Copperhead Mountain.
His wife is the flavor master. They make 10 different flavors of moonshine: banana, chocolate, blueberry, apple, butterscotch, watermelon, pineapple, cinnamon, peppermint and peach. They use all natural flavors, so you can see the fruit in their flavored moonshine. The liquor should actually be shaken before serving because the meat of the pineapple, peach, etc., settles at the bottom of the jar. Copperhead Mountain’s Chocolate Moonshine is made with dark semisweet chocolate, and Connelly recommends complementing it with maraschino cherries.
As Dark Corner’s tasting room barkeep and store manager, Casey Long said Butterscotch Shine and Apple-achian Shine are popular cold weather flavors.
But she said women like whiskey too. At 21, she would have gravitated toward the Carolina Peach Shine. But at 29, her personal favorite is Dark Corner’s Stumphouse Whiskey.
“It’s great because you can taste a little residual Bourbon flavor from the oak bourbon barrel, but the texture is silky with a creamy feel on the tongue and a slight fruity sweetness. It’s an easy, sipping whiskey.”
She likes it served “neat” at room temperature with no water or ice.
She also said a lot of guys want the award-winning World’s Best Moonshine. “The beauty of our moonshine is that you can sip it on the rocks or make martinis. Several local restaurants create martinis with it,” said Long.
Recommendation: apple, peach, butterscotch or chocolate flavored moonshine or Dark Corner’s World’s Best Moonshine.
For Valentines 31 and Up, Think Strong and Smooth
If you aren’t sure what your Valentine may like, Long says their World’s Best Moonshine, Apple-achian or Carolina Peach Shine are all crowd pleasers.
Based on her husband Michael’s tastes, Long recommends Lewis Redmond Bourbon and Stumphouse if your Valentine is 31 or older. Dark Corner owner, Joe Fenten, and his distiller interviewed retired moonshiners in their ’80s and ’90s and tried different ratios of grains to develop the recipe for the award-winning World’s Best Moonshine.
“They made 40 batches before they found it, which means they found 39 ways not to make moonshine before they found one that worked,” said Long.
As the Distillery’s photographer, Michael took the Dark Corner photos in this post.
Connelly says that customers 40 and older favor older spirits, whiskeys and rums that are smooth and 100-proof. And, although both sexes love the 100-proof, Connelly says the ladies also love the 50-proof flavored moonshine. His wife comes from a long line of moonshiners in Tennessee.
Recommendation: Copperhead Mountain Snake Bite Clear Corn Whiskey or Chocolate Moonshine or Dark Corner’s Stumphouse or Louis Redmond Bourbon.
Moonshine Options for Valentines That Don’t Drink
There’s no reason to deny your beloved moonshine just because they don’t drink. Dark Corner makes moonshine soap and Copperhead Mountain works with a company in North Carolina to use its Moonshine to make Moonshine Pickles, Jelly and Hot Sauce.
And nothing says love better than 100-proof moonshine, even when it’s a cucumber getting pickled instead of you.
For BMod, I’m Terry Gardner.
All Images Courtesy of Michael Long for Dark Corner Distillery