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Bartenders Tell Us The Best Moonshines To Drink All Summer Long


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When we think of summer spirits, our thoughts tend to take us to rum, tequila, vodka, and gin. But there’s one more spirit on the market that’s perfect for summer mixing (and sipping) — white whiskey. If you’ve never heard of white whiskey, you might know it by its other moniker, moonshine.

Bear with us here. We know that moonshine doesn’t always have the best reputation. Many people think of it as hidden in the woods in illicit stills, an unregulated spirit famous for causing blindness when improperly distilled. But the liquor, usually made from corn, has actually been legally distilled (with the proper paperwork) since 2010. Whiskey gets its color and most of its flavor from barrel-aging. With moonshine, the spirit doesn’t go through that same maturing process, but it’s still very much whiskey. There’s nothing to be skittish about here! There are tons of brands all over the country getting into the moonshine game. And it’s everything we’ve been missing from summer cocktails.

Since the market has become saturated with white whiskey in the last decade, we decided to ask some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the whiskies and moonshines they like to mix with all summer long.

George Dickel No. 1 White Corn Whisky

George Dickel

Casey Lyons, lead bartender at Pacific Hideaway in Huntington Beach, California

“Dickel Unaged might be the only version of this spirit that I am willing to play with — it keeps its fire manageable on the palate without needing to use a candy store level of syrup to balance it out.”

Manhattan Moonshine

Manhattan Moonshine

Cody Goldstein, bartender at The Flying Cock in New York City

“My favorite moonshine would be Manhattan Moonshine, if not just for the incredible bottle alone. This white whiskey actually does not use corn, which is rare for a moonshine, and means it lacks that grassy harshness you often find in a white whiskey.”

Buffalo Trace White Dog

Buffalo Trace

Andrew Erickson, bartender at L27 in Nashville

“When I start to think about moonshine, I like to think of what it might be one day after sitting in White Oak barrels. Therefore, my mind immediately goes to Buffalo Trace’s White Dog Mash. This is the same distillate as their flag ship Buffalo Trace bourbon, and you get to see the building blocks of what makes their bourbon whiskey so wonderful. It is clean through the finish, which is surprising considering the alcohol content, but for a whiskey purest, I would add this to a Buffalo Trace flight anytime.”

Woodinville White Dog

Woodinville Whiskey

Milos Zica, beverage consultant at The Infamous Bistro in New York City

“I love Major Smart Whiskey or White Dog Whiskey — which is a little cheaper, but was my favorite when I was young, so I have great memories of it.”

High West Silver Oat

High West

Jason O’Bryan, spirits director at The Florence in San Diego

“I have yet to have a white whiskey I’ve truly enjoyed, as opposed to something being good ‘for a white whiskey.’ That being said, the High West Silver Oat is good for a white whiskey.”

Midnight Moon

Midnight Moon

Josh Cameron, head bartender at Boulton & Watt in New York City

“I love the packaging and the country-style marketing of Midnight Moon. Every time I’m home in rural Pennsylvania, I seem to find myself drinking one of their fruity infusions. Moonshine, for me, appeals because of its place in bootlegging and backwoods culture/allure. I know these are legal variants, but with every sip, I like to imagine a hidden 55-gallon drum somewhere in backwoods Virginia and an overhaul clad grandpa cooking the juice saying, ‘careful ye don’t go blind.’”

Ole Smoky Moonshine

Ole Smoky

Alex Vines, bartender at Fulton Alley in New Orleans

“What’s my favorite moonshine or white whiskey and why? Ole Smoky Moonshine. Specifically, Ole Smoky Apple Pie because it mixes well with a lot of different things.”

Hudson New York Corn Whiskey

tuthilltown Spirits

Sean Stangle, bartender at Estiatorio Milos in Las Vegas

“The best brand of white whiskey I’ve had is Hudson New York Corn Whiskey distilled in Tuthilltown, NY. I was originally drawn to this brand because it’s located about 45 minutes north of where I was born and raised. After sampling each of their expressions, I found the corn whiskey to be supremely unique with very sweet aromas and vegetal aspects as well. It separates itself from other white whiskeys because of this, while making it much more versatile in cocktails as well.”

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