Just a hip trend? Moonshine’s profile rises in L.A. bars

on 14/01/11 at 10:09 am

Booze News

Once a homemade concoction in the backwoods, the clear whiskey is moving into the hippest bars in town.

Moonshine is having its day in the sun.

Once a back-road country cousin, it is taking on a new life as a city slicker. And now that it’s out of the barn and into the bar, mixologists at tony drinking dens are experimenting with moonshine, and spirit enthusiasts — always on the prowl for the newest kick — are responding with alacrity.

Think of it as whiskey light. Made from grains such as corn, wheat, rye or barley, moonshine never rests inside a wooden barrel, which is why it remains clear, rough and ready. Wood is what gives straight bourbon its rich dark color and most of its caramel-vanilla flavor.

That’s why moonshine is special, say craft distillers. Unkissed by wood, moonshine retains the purity of its nature and drinkers get the chance to experience whiskey in its raw form — to taste its rough-hewn, chewy-grain edges.

Plus, it’s pretty. “L.A. is very look-driven and people are extremely conscious of what they’re drinking — what they’re holding in their hand,” says Shannon Beattie, the beverage director at Cecconi’s, a ritzy Italian restaurant in West Hollywood that serves a wide variety of moonshine cocktails alongside its menu of goat cheese and summer truffle pizza and Dungeness crab ravioli. “And this really sells because it gets people talking. It looks unique — how the light shines through the glass, and you can see the cherry in a white Manhattan.”

Others appreciate it because it’s a bit of the frontier in a bottle and to drink it is to drink in the history of American whiskey.

{Full story via LA Times}

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