Making moonshine doesn’t have to be complicated. Check out our five easy to make moonshine recipes that are perfect for newbie ‘shiners!
Making moonshine is not a new hobby. In fact, one of the reasons that we are so passionate about moonshining is to continue this long standing American tradition.
Some have relatives to pass the art of moonshining from generation to generation. However, most are not so lucky. Without us ‘shiners to pass the craft along we could be only a generation away from losing the art of distilling spirits at home.
Making Moonshine from Grain
Traditionally, moonshine was made from excess grain. Early pioneers, especially those who settled in grain-producing states, would ferment their grain. It didn’t take long for those early settlers to learn that whiskey was far more valuable (and fun) than the corn it was made from.
In fact, it didn’t take long for whiskey to actually become a form of currency during this time. Imagine if you could pay all your bills in moonshine today!
Instead of continuing with this happy system, it was soon decided that spirits should be taxed in order to pay for the mounting debts of the Revolutionary war. And so, moonshining (literally named for making spirits under the cover of darkness) was born.
While most traditional moonshine recipes are made from grain, this is not the only way to make moonshine. In fact, this is arguably a much more complicated way to make moonshine.
The reason that grain is a more complicated base for making moonshine is because it requires a conversion. Your moonshine mash needs to be made with fermentable sugars which will be turned into alcohol by yeast.
When you make moonshine with grain it needs to be converted from a starch into a sugar by cooking it. This is an extra step that is eliminated when you don’t use grain as a base for your mash.
An Easier to Make Moonshine Mash
Instead of choosing grain as your base, using something that already contains large amounts of sugar can easily eliminate a step from your moonshine process. Take a look at our pick of our top five easy to make moonshine recipes that are both simple and delicious.
AppleJack is one of the most popular moonshine recipes for its crisp taste as well as its fairly straightforward process. Not only is the recipe straightforward and without a need for mash conversion, this recipe also does not require a still.
This moonshine recipe uses high quality apple cider as its base and uses a freeze distillation technique which does not require a still and instead uses a freezer.
One of the best parts about AppleJack moonshine is the fact that the proof of your shine can be adjusted as you go. Simply continue to distill until you are happy with the proof.
Check out the full AppleJack recipe here.
When you make a mash your end goal is to make a fermentable sugar. Sugar shine simply starts with a sugar base instead of converting grain into a sugar. It really could not be easier. We often encourage brand new shiners to start off with sugar shine as their first moonshine recipe.
Instead of breaking down and cooking grain for conversion, this recipe simply requires you to dissolve sugar into water. In addition, you can also use additional water in the recipe to cool down your mash which eliminates the need for an immersion chiller.
Another advantage of using sugar as the base of your ‘shine is the fact that the ingredients are easy to find and extremely inexpensive. In fact, a gallon of sugar shine only costs about $5 to make.
Check out the full sugar shine recipe here.
Brown Sugar Shine
Brown sugar moonshine is very similar to sugar shine with one small exception: molasses. The biggest factor for many shiners in determining what type of sugar to use in their shine is usually the cost.
The cost of white vs brown sugar varies around the globe with one usually costing far more than the other. Brown sugar is often less processed than white sugar as white sugar is usually made by removing molasses from brown sugar. However, brown sugar can also be made by adding molasses to white sugar.
Not all types of brown sugar are the same. There is light brown sugar, regular brown sugar and dark brown sugar. These different shades of sugar are determined by the amount of molasses in the recipes. We suggest using dark brown sugar as the base of your sugar shine. By using a dark brown sugar as the base of your sugar shine this recipe will easily lend itself to making rum.
Check out our Brown Sugar Shine Recipe here.
While sugar shine is often made due to low cost, honey shine is made due to its unique and delicious taste. Anyone who buys honey knows that it isn’t cheap. In fact, we suggest using locally made honey for even better tasting shine. Although this is not an inexpensive route to take, it is one that yields delicious moonshine with a fairly simple process.
Similarly to both types of sugar shine, honey shine is made by simply dissolving honey into water to make your mash.
Check out our complete Honey Shine recipe here.
Many of the most popular cocktail recipes are using flavored moonshines. While many incorrectly believe that these recipes are complicated to make, the opposite is true. In fact, most of these recipes use sugar shine as their base and are simply flavored using fresh ingredients.
By using sugar shine as your base, you can easily fill up your bar with a variety of your favorite spirits for a fraction of the price.
Check out using sugar shine in 10 different ways below.
The Easiest to Use Air Still
While distilling moonshine is not always seen as the most complicated part of the moonshine process, it is often the step most are intimidated by. This is why we love the Mist 1 Gallon air still. The mist is about the size of a kitchen kettle and just as easy to use.
The mist has a built-in fan so there is no need for any additional water during the distillation process. This makes the Mist the perfect option for the cottage, boat, trailer or for anyone who is living with restricted water use.
The Mist is the perfect option for those who want an easier option for making tasty spirits from the comfort of their own home. Check out the Mist in action below!