AppleJack Moonshine Recipe

AppleJack Moonshine Recipe

What is more American than apple pie? How about homemade Applejack Moonshine? This recipe is almost as old as moonshine itself and its sweet aftertaste lays its roots firmly in American history.

There are two ways to make a delicious Applejack Moonshine beverage. You can create an actual applejack spirit using an apple cider base and a special fermentation process. Or you can use a traditional moonshine spirit as the base of your applejack cocktail.

Beginners may choose to hone their craft a bit longer before attempting this recipe. This is the perfect recipe for those moonshiners looking for a challenge that is sure to produce sweet results.


What is Apple Jack Moonshine?



Apple Jack Moonshine, also known as apple brandy, is a type of alcoholic beverage that is made from apples. This popular American spirit is created through a process of fermenting apple cider and then distilling it. The result is a smooth and flavorful spirit with a distinct apple taste.

Apple Jack Moonshine is often aged in Bourbon barrels, which adds richness and depth to the flavor. It has a long and storied history in the United States, with legends and stories dating back to the time of George Washington.

Whether enjoyed on its own, in a cocktail like the classic Jack Rose or used in cooking and baking, Apple Jack Moonshine is a beloved and versatile drink that truly captures the essence of apples.


 History of Apple Jack Moonshine


Apple Jack Moonshine, America's First Moonshine, has a rich history that dates back to the early days of our nation. Originating in the colonial era, apple jack was a popular drink made by farmers who wanted to preserve their apple harvest through the cold winter months.


This vanished drink has recently seen a revival thanks to a new generation of distillers who have embraced its unique flavors and historical significance.


During Prohibition, when the production and sale of alcohol were banned, Apple Jack took on a new role. Crafty bootleggers and moonshiners turned to this versatile spirit as a way to satisfy the public's thirst for alcohol.


By concentrating hard cider through the process of freezing and removing the ice, they were able to create a high-proof, smooth, and aromatic liquor.


This transformation turned apple jack into a fine brandy-like beverage.

Today, apple jack is enjoyed for its distinctive taste and historical charm. The distillers' revival of this forgotten gem has reintroduced the world to the unique flavors of this traditional American moonshine. From its humble beginnings on family farms to the polished brandy it has become, apple jack has truly stood the test of time.

So, raise a glass to the history of Apple Jack Moonshine, a drink that has captivated the taste buds of generations and continues to be a beloved spirit today.


Benefits of Drinking Apple Jack Moonshine


Apple jack moonshine offers a range of benefits to those who enjoy its strong and unique flavors. Made from apples, this traditional American spirit has a rich history, particularly during the colonial era. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to give apple jack moonshine a try.

1. Distinctive Taste: Apple jack moonshine has a bold and unmistakable flavor profile, with hints of apple sweetness and a smooth, warming finish. It offers a unique and enjoyable drinking experience.

2. Standalone Drink: Apple jack moonshine can be enjoyed on its own, sipped slowly to fully savor its flavors. It is a great choice for those who appreciate strong and flavorful alcoholic beverages.

3. Versatile Ingredient: Apple jack moonshine is also a versatile ingredient in cocktails. Its apple-forward taste adds depth and complexity to a wide range of mixed drinks. Try using it in classic cocktails like the Jack Rose or experiment with your own creations.

Despite its historical significance, apple jack moonshine experienced a decline in popularity in the 19th and 20th centuries due to competition from other spirits.

However, its recent revival by craft distilleries has allowed it to reclaim its place as a beloved and unique spirit. So, whether you prefer it as a standalone drink or in a cocktail, apple jack moonshine offers a taste of American history and a delightful drinking experience.


Gather the Ingredients


To make your own apple jack moonshine, you'll need just a few simple ingredients. First and foremost, you'll need a selection of apples.

It's best to choose a variety of apples, as different types will impart their own unique flavors to the final product.

You'll also need sugar, yeast, and water to kickstart the fermentation process. Lastly, you'll need a large container or fermentation vessel to hold the mixture as it transforms into the smooth and flavorful apple jack moonshine.

It's important to ensure that all the ingredients are of high quality to create the best possible taste. Once you have everything ready, you can start the process of transforming these ingredients into a delicious batch of homemade apple jack moonshine.



Why Should You Use Apples in Moonshine?




Using fruit to make flavored moonshine may be trendy, but it is not a recent discovery. Using apples to make moonshine is almost as old as moonshine itself.


With its sweet undertones applejack moonshine is a great intro for beginners or those who are new to drinking moonshine.


It is a great option to bring to parties and is a delicious way to enjoy moonshine straight from the jar. It can easily be packaged and gifted to be enjoyed by those familiar and unfamiliar with moonshine.

Although this sweet reminder of apple pie may go down easily, it still packs a punch.

The actual proof of the moonshine can be adjusted after the fermentation process, but newbies should be warned. Sip slowly and watch out!


Optional Ingredients to Consider


When it comes to making Apple Jack Moonshine, there are some optional ingredients that can take your homemade brew to the next level. These ingredients not only enhance the flavor and aroma of the moonshine but also add a unique twist to the traditional recipe.

One popular option is to include cinnamon sticks. The warm and spicy notes of cinnamon can complement the apple flavor perfectly, giving your moonshine a cozy and comforting touch. Similarly, adding cloves can bring a slightly earthy and aromatic element to the mix.

For those looking for a hint of sweetness, vanilla beans can be a great choice.


The subtle and sweet flavors of vanilla can balance out the tartness of the apples and create a harmonious blend.


Another option is to add honey, which not only provides additional sweetness but also adds a rich and smooth mouthfeel.

If you prefer a deeper and richer taste, consider incorporating brown sugar into your Apple Jack Moonshine recipe. The molasses undertones of brown sugar can add a caramel-like sweetness and complexity to the final product.

When experimenting with these optional ingredients, remember to start with small amounts and gradually adjust to your desired taste. By adding cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla beans, honey, or brown sugar to your Apple Jack Moonshine, you can elevate its flavors and create a truly unique and delicious drink.


Safety Tips for Working with Alcoholic Beverages


Working with alcoholic beverages requires caution and adherence to safety guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure the well-being of individuals involved. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind while handling and storing alcohol:

1. Wear Protective Gear: When working with alcoholic beverages, it is important to wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, to protect yourself from any spills or splashes that may occur.

2. Work in a Well-Ventilated Area: Ensure that you are working in a well-ventilated area, as alcohol vapors can be highly flammable. Adequate ventilation helps reduce the risk of fire or explosion.

3. Store Alcohol Properly: Alcohol should be stored in a cool and dry place away from any open flames or heat sources. Avoid storing alcohol near flammable materials, as this increases the risk of accidents.

4. Avoid Mixing Alcohol with Non-compatible Substances: Never mix alcohol with cleaning agents or any other substances that may react with the alcohol. Such combinations can result in hazardous fumes or chemical reactions.

5. Handle with Care: When handling bottles or containers of alcoholic beverages, be careful not to drop or mishandle them. Broken glass or spills can cause injuries and create slip hazards.

By following these safety tips, you can minimize the risk of accidents and ensure a safe working environment when dealing with alcoholic beverages. Remember, safety should always be a top priority when working with any potentially hazardous substances.


How Strong will my AppleJack Cocktail be?



One of the biggest benefits to making your own moonshine (besides the bragging rights) is the fact that you can customize your spirits to suit your tastes.


This recipe does not use the traditional moonshine still and instead uses a freeze distillation method where the water is frozen and removed rather than an evaporation process.


With this process, you can control the proof of your spirit by the amount of ice removed. However, once the spirit reaches about 30-40% ABV the formation of the ice slows significantly.

This is probably a good thing since this sweet taste of apple pie goes down so easily.

Do you want the taste of apple pie combined with a traditional moonshine recipe? Check out our Apple Pie Moonshine cocktail recipe!


Can I Add Cinnamon to My AppleJack?



This mix does not include additional cinnamon although it does require a good quality cider as the base. If your cider includes a hint of cinnamon it will be present in the finished product. However, as you grow in your abilities as a moonshiner, you will find yourself able to adapt and change recipes to reflect your own tastes.

Just because this recipe does not include cinnamon does not mean you cannot make your own additions and substitutions as you go. We have also heard of adding raisins to the mix.

We do suggest trying the recipe as written at first. This is a good opportunity to get the actual technique down and to see what notes you would like to adjust in the finished product.

A cinnamon stick is also a sophisticated garnish to add when served. By putting a cinnamon stick inside a sanitized mason jar to serve you are better able to control the intensity of the cinnamon by removing it when desired. It also makes for a great presentation.


How Do I Store my AppleJack Moonshine?


Proper storage of applejack moonshine is important to preserve the taste and be able to anticipate the proof of your moonshine.

You can store your moonshine in an airtight container. If left open or in a container with a lot of ‘head' space the taste can quickly and significantly change. Mason jars are an ideal option!

It is important to use glass to store your moonshine for both taste and to ‘see' when your moonshine is ready to be consumed. By choosing to use glass to store your moonshine you can store it at both room temperature and freeze it.

See more How to Store your Moonshine

Some choose to store their applejack moonshine in 12 oz beer bottles as the amount seems to be a good serving size for about four people. With these amounts in mind, it can be easy to know how many bottles you will need to remove from the freezer for your events and get-togethers.


Storing your Moonshine According to Its Proof


Another option is to store in airtight 125 or 250-ml mason jars. One thing it is important to remember when storing and serving your moonshine is to keep in mind that the proof of the moonshine differs depending on where it is in the jar.

The moonshine resting closest to the lid will have the strongest proof, followed by the liquid in the middle and finally, the weakest proof will rest at the bottom. Keep this in mind when serving. Especially when serving those who may not have as much experience drinking higher-proofed liquor.


A good rule of thumb may be to always pour for yourself first, or whoever is more experienced with fine spirits and serve those who are considered ‘lightweights' last.


You can segment and label your bottles according to the proof as well. This can easily be done by pouring the first few ounces into bottles that are labeled as strong. The middle ounces are labeled as medium strength and the bottom ounces as lighter in both flavor and alcohol per volume.


What Equipment is Needed to Make Applejack Moonshine?


 Get Your Starter Kit

To make this AppleJack Moonshine you will require:

Getting started making moonshine is easy with our Starter Kit. Our starter kit is a convenient way to get all the equipment you need for making your first moonshine mash. Your Starter Kit includes:



The 5-gallon mash Kettle is a recommended tool for beginner brewers. The product is made of high-quality 202 stainless steel and is designed to hold up to 3 gallons of wort while boiling. It includes a kettle lid, stainless steel handles, and has 0.5mm thick sides and bottom.


Moonshine Thermometer: This is especially important to those new to moonshining as temperature plays such an important role in the process.



Mash Paddle: This 24" long mash paddle is made of 304 stainless steel and is designed for professional brewing. The tapered paddle face of this product makes it ideal for 5-gallon batch applications. Prepare to create a highly flavorful and potent moonshine. Experience the difference a mash paddle will make today!



Hydrometer for Moonshine: A hydrometer is an essential tool for moonshiners. This device enables the measurement of the specific gravity of the mash, which allows for an estimation of the alcohol content of the moonshine.



Cheesecloth: is an essential item in every moonshiner's toolkit. Cheesecloth is a versatile fabric that has been used for centuries in various applications, including cooking and crafting. It is also commonly used in the process of making moonshine.

In addition to your starter kit, this recipe also requires: 

Storage Vessel: You can choose to store your moonshine in your fermentation bucket while you perform your freeze distillation or you could divide it up between many mason jars. We encourage moonshine to be stored in glass to best preserve the taste.

Freezer: In this recipe, instead of using a traditional moonshine still you will be putting your storage bucket in the freezer and removing the ice that forms. Consider the size of your freezer when choosing your bucket.

Fermentation Bucket: Is it important to use a bucket big enough for ‘room to grow'.

While many moonshine recipes require a stove-top distiller, applejack moonshine does not.

This makes it a good option for those who want to try making moonshine without committing to purchasing a large amount of equipment. Or even those who have been making moonshine using the traditional distiller method and are interested in expanding their horizons.


How Long Does it Take to Make AppleJack Moonshine?


Applejack moonshine has been compared to an apple pie in a jar. With spirits this delicious of course we want them sooner than later. However, good things come to those who wait. In this case, at least a week.

This is because the fermentation process takes a least 7 days to complete. Of course, the longer you allow your mixture to ferment, the stronger your moonshine will be. Fermentation isn't the finish line either. In this recipe, you are using your freezer to remove the water from the recipe and increase the proof.


So if you are planning to host a soiree and want to show off your moonshine skills be sure to plan well in advance to avoid ‘rushing' your moonshine.


The good news is that your applejack moonshine can be easily stored and frozen in an airtight glass bottle or jar to preserve its delicious flavor.

It is important to note that by using a freeze distillation, you are not able to fraction your moonshine as you normally would. Learn more about fractionating your yield with our How to Make Moonshine guide.

Shop our moonshine still collection