Many a family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky was clothed and fed by the proceeds received from making and selling of raw whisky commonly known as Moonshine.
This activity was a Federal offence and was done in secrecy, often at night by the light of the moon hence the moniker of Moonshine. Every ‘Shiner had their own way in terms of equipment and recipe and often took great pride in their product. Some ‘Shiner’s become highly sought after due to producing whisky of exceptional quality.
The basic requirements for making ‘Shine are pretty simple, a Mash Tub, or Fermenter, a Still and a Condenser will supply the equipment needed and cornmeal, sugar, water, yeast and malt the ingredients. Interestingly, by making your Mash acidic instead of ‘Shine you will obtain Vinegar.
My grandfather made a little ‘Shine in his younger days to help feed his family. As it happened this was in the time of a notoriously fearless and relentlessly dogged Revenue Agent by the name of Wince Trimble. Fortunately for grandpa Carl Cooper was then sheriff of Magoffin County and understood the situation when he and Wince happened upon grandpa’s still. Wince wanted to arrest grandpa but Carl interceded asking him not to do so. After much discussion a deal was struck; if grandpa would promise on his honor never again to make ‘Shine they would not arrest him. This was a deal grandpa gladly accepted as Carl and Wince laid the axe to his still. Grandpa went to Carey, Ohio and found work at Valley Metal. True to his word he never again made old Moonshine.