Raise a glass to moonshine

on 15/08/11 at 4:22 pm

Spirits

Glasses high for the rise of moonshine.

True to the spirit of the latest trend in liquor, the distiller’s new darling was there all along, but we just didn’t see it: white whiskey, trickling clear and fresh off the still.

Beaming with high-octane heat and the edgy fruitiness of warm distilled grain, that booze, until recently, never saw the light of a legitimate store shelf until it emerged from a barrel, ambered with the caramel brown and sweetness of years in well-charred wood.

Once the sole province of undercover moonshiners pumping out cheap illegal hooch sold from the hills of Appalachia to the “nip joints” of North Philly, unaged whiskey has now gone hipster-legit in a big way.

With the recent debut of Shine XXX corn whiskey by the Philadelphia Distilling Co., expected to be widely available on Pennsylvania store shelves by Aug. 22, we now have an impressive local entry in the white whiskey craze, a national phenomenon driven by the high-end revival of the cocktail and the growing ranks of craft distillers who fuel it.

“Of the 155 people I know making whiskey, a full third of them are now making white whiskey from rye, corn, barley, or another grain,” says Bill Owens, president of the American Distilling Institute, an artisan spirit trade group.


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