The Top 20 Moonshine Questions – Everything You Need to Know

Written by 'Courtney Doss' on October 19, 2021 / Moonshine

Midnight Moon answers all your moonshine questions from “What is moonshine?” to “Is moonshine illegal?”. Find out everything you need to know about the ‘shine.

Moonshine is shrouded in mystery, which is why Midnight Moon wants to answer your most pressing questions about the famous white lightning. How did this spirit become so popular? What even is moonshine? Can I drink it legally (yes, if you’re 21 or older and it’s from Midnight Moon).

Our experts tell you everything you want to know so you can enjoy our many moonshine flavors and recipes to the fullest. Here are our top 20 most commonly asked questions about moonshine

1. What is moonshine?

By definition, moonshine is any alcohol made and sold without Federal and State government authorization (legal permits) and Federal taxes were not paid to produce it.

2. What is moonshine made from?

Moonshine is a distilled spirit typically made from corn or some other type of grain. There are some traditional moonshines where the alcohol is fermented and distilled from fruit, like apple brandy. Midnight Moon is distilled from 100% corn.

3. Is moonshine whiskey?

The short answer is yes. The Federal Tax and Trade Bureau (the agency that oversees alcohol production and distribution) classifies alcohol with a grain-bill containing a minimum of eighty percent corn as “corn whiskey”. The alcohol content, ingredients and process to make “corn whiskey” and ‘shine are similar, though moonshiners will tell you they’re different because whiskey is taxed.

Unaged “corn whiskey” is often the type of alcohol used to make bourbon. In the world of bourbon, it is commonly referred to as “white whiskey” or “white dog” before it is placed in the charred, white oak barrel to age.

4. How much alcohol is in moonshine? How strong is it?

Traditional moonshine is normally bottled or jarred around 100 proof (or 50% alcohol by volume). Midnight Moon’s “Original” styles include a 100-proof and 80-proof option, which is comparable to other common spirits like whiskey, vodka and rum. Many Midnight Moon flavors include lower proof options infused with hand-packed, all-natural real fruit.

5. Why is it called moonshine?

The term “moonshine” comes from the tradition of making the illegal spirit with hidden stills in the mountains under the light of the moon. Moonshiners distilled their ‘shine at night so the federal agents (Revenuers) would not be able to see the smoke of the fire that heated the stills; this also made it nearly impossible for agents to approach the stills undetected. No one knew the mountain terrain better than the local moonshiners.

Junior Johnson's Old 1940 Ford - Midnight Moon Moonshine

6. Is moonshine illegal or legal? Is moonshine still considered illegal after the Prohibition era?

Everything related to moonshine since its beginning in the 18th century was illegal – the spirit, the distillation process and even the distribution (also known as bootlegging). To legally make moonshine now, companies need to obtain a federal permit and sometimes state permits. Moonshining at home is still illegal for taxing and safety reasons.

7. Why is moonshine illegal?

Moonshine was illegal because Americans distilled and distributed their spirits in secret in order to avoid taxes in the 1700s, and it was outright banned during Prohibition in the 1920s. Distilling ‘shine today is still illegal unless your company has the correct permits (like Midnight Moon). Making homemade moonshine is illegal because you need to have a distiller’s permit and pay the taxes on the alcohol produced.

8. How do you make moonshine?

Making moonshine traditionally used a Pot Still. Smart moonshiners often used a “Double Thumper Still”, which used the Pot Still, a Thump Keg and a Condenser. This allowed moonshiners to distill their ‘shine twice and get a higher-proof batch.

9. How do you make moonshine mash?

Moonshine mash is the mixture of grain (traditionally corn), water and yeast used in the distillation process. It was common for moonshiners to add sugar to the mash to increase the alcohol yield from the batch. The mash ferments into alcohol before entering the distilling process.

10. How do you make apple pie moonshine?

Apple Pie Moonshine is one of Midnight Moon’s favorite flavors. We take our Midnight Moon Original moonshine base, blend it with juiced apples and add a real cinnamon stick to the jar. Friends tell us it tastes better than grandma’s homemade apple pie.

Midnight Moon Moonshine Apple Pie

11. What does moonshine taste like?

Inspired by the Junior Johnson family recipe, Midnight Moon moonshine is distilled from 100% corn mash, which produces a subtly sweet and exceptionally smooth ‘shine. Our fruit infusions add a special kick to any drink because all our infused fruits are hand-packed and real, Grade A fruit.

12.  How do you drink moonshine?

There are several ways to drink moonshine (though we recommend out of a mason jar is a good place to start). You can drink it chilled straight from the jar, on the rocks, or try it in one of your favorite cocktail recipes.

13.  What is the best-tasting moonshine?

While we may be slightly biased, Midnight Moon is the best-tasting moonshine you can buy. It comes in a variety of flavors, from the Original (clear or unflavored), to the fruit-infused flavors, including Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Strawberry, Peach and everyone’s favorite – Apple Pie. We recently added Lightning Lemonade and Watermelon, so there are plenty of flavors to explore and enjoy!

14.  How do you flavor moonshine?

Moonshine is flavored after the ‘shine is distilled. Midnight Moon follows the tradition of infusing the Original ‘shine with 100% real, all-natural ingredients. Many include real fruit, hand-packed in the mason jar with blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, raspberries or strawberries – even with dill pickles.

15.  What do you mix with moonshine?

Midnight Moon has many popular recipes that include everyday mixers, as well as other spirits that combine with our ‘shine to make incredible cocktails. It ranges from ginger ale, to beer, to tea and everything in between. The all-natural, real ingredients we use to craft our flavored spirits turn the traditional cocktail into one that’s really special.

Midnight Moon Moonshine Watermelon Mojito- Moonshine Recipes

16. What do you mix with apple pie moonshine?

Our apple pie moonshine recipes include Old Fashioned Apple Pie, Apple Ale, Apple Pie Moonshine Mule and more. They are simple to make at home and often turn the ordinary gathering into a party. There’s a story in every jar.

17.  Is moonshine gluten-free?

Yes, all Midnight Moon moonshine flavors are gluten-free.

18.  Where can I buy moonshine near me?

You can buy moonshine online and have it delivered to your door in an hour with a simple click on our website or use the store location search to find a liquor store with Midnight Moon near you.

19.  How do you make moonshine at home? Is homemade moonshine illegal?

Making moonshine at home is illegal. While it may be legal in certain areas to brew your own beer or make your own wine, the Federal Tax and Trade bureau prohibits individuals from making distilled spirits at home. It doesn’t matter if it is for sale or personal consumption. That’s one of the reasons we created Midnight Moon! If Midnight Moon was any more authentic, it’d be illegal.

20.  Does moonshine cause blindness? If so, how?

Any alcohol distilled at home by someone who doesn’t have experience can cause blindness or even kill you. Methanol has a lower boiling point and is released in the first part of the distilling process. If it is not removed, and depending on the amount of methanol you ingest, you could go blind or even die.

There you have it – all of your questions about moonshine answered! At Midnight Moon, we’re proud to legally distill the best ‘shine around (thank you, Junior Johnson!) and look forward to hearing what you enjoy most about our fun flavors and cocktail recipes.