Moonshine is more than just whiskey! Check out our simple step-by-step rum moonshine recipe!
Take your moonshine to the next level by experimenting with new spirit recipes. While many associate moonshine with whiskey, in fact moonshine refers to the history of home brewing and not its output.
What is Moonshine?
Moonshining refers to making spirits ‘by the light of the moon’ because of its illicit nature. However, making your own spirits was not always illegal. In fact, fermenting excess grain was popular amongst early American settlers, especially in grain producing states.
Farmers would ferment excess grain to avoid waste but soon learned that the whiskey they produced was far more valuable than the grain they were growing. In fact, whiskey was often used as a form of currency during this time.
Of course all good things must come to an end. In 1790 Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton soon decided that taxing spirits would be an ideal way to help pay for the costs associated with the American Revolutionary War. And so, the Whiskey Tax was put into effect.
While this tax was rebelled against and many lost their lives, moonshining, or producing spirits illicitly was born.
Check out: Is Moonshine Illegal?
Where did Rum Come From?
While the history of American moonshine definitely involved some bloodshed, it is sunshine and rainbows compared to the history of rum.
While whiskey is made from grain, rum is made from sugar. Sugar cane was originally cultivated in New Guinea and first fermented as early as 350 BC in India. At this time, the drink was used medicinally.
When explorers began travelling along the trade route in the 1400’s sugarcane was discovered along with the perfect climate to cultivate it. Many areas were discovered with plenty of water (necessary for sugarcane) but there was a lack of manpower.
Unfortunately, the answer at that time was to enlist slaves to help to grow the sugar cane. Explorers were finding that whiskey and mead were not faring well on their long journeys and soon began to drink rum instead.
A real turning point came with the discovery of the perfect climate for growing sugar cane. Barbados was ‘discovered’ in the early 1600’s. Explorer Richard Ligon brought equipment, slaves and distillation knowledge from Brazil. In less than a decade Barbados had a prospering sugar and rum export industry.
Which is Better Rum or Whiskey?
While the history of rum is not a pretty one, modern enthusiasts often associate rum with tropical vacations rather than generations of enslavement.
It makes sense for you to want to make rum at home in order to recreate that vacation feeling all year long.
In fact, many people actually start with a rum recipe because it is much easier to make compared to whiskey.
The reason rum is easier to make is because it does not require a conversion. The first step of making moonshine is to make a mash or the base of your moonshine. When you are using grain as your base you must cook it in order to allow a conversion from a starch to fermentable sugars.
When you are using a sugar-based recipe this step is eliminated.
Another reason that many moonshiners start with a sugar-based recipe is the accessibility of ingredients as well as their low cost.
While sourcing cracked corn may not be the easiest for a novice shiner, sugar is readily available and economical to buy. It is also a common and familiar ingredient to work with, so it makes trying a new hobby a little easier.
Can you Make Moonshine with Sugar, Water, and Yeast?
While you can make a simple sugar shine with nothing more than sugar, water and yeast, it is not considered rum.
In order to be considered rum you need to add one key ingredient: molasses. When sugarcane is processed it is crushed and the juice is extracted. That juice is then boiled down to produce sugar crystals. The by-product of this process is molasses.
This dark syrup is a favorite in many dishes, especially around the holidays. It is also essential in a rum recipe. Without the molasses, you are simply making a sugar shine. While this is also a great option for someone looking for a simple option to make a spirit, it will not have the right flavor for rum.
Using a pot still to make rum with this recipe will not produce your typical Bacardi flavor. This recipe will produce a rum similar to varieties typically found in the Caribbean.
The Right Equipment for the Job
At How to Moonshine, we pride ourselves in being more than just a supplier of great quality stills. We also support our customers through every step of their moonshine journey. From our detailed manuals, how-to guides and step-by-step recipes; we are here for you every step of the way.
Our Moonshine Cherry Air Still is a perfect option for those who are looking for a quality still that is both easy to use and economical to buy.
The Moonshine Cherry is compact enough to fit on your kitchen counter and powerful enough to distill one gallon of mash in just under two hours-all at the press of a button!