Everclear vs Moonshine: What is the Difference?

Everclear vs Moonshine

Many are wondering whether Everclear, a high-proof spirit that is actually illegal in some areas of the country, is the same as moonshine. As experts in the field of white lightning, we are happy to answer the question. Everclear vs. Moonshine: what is the difference?


Whether you are a casual fan or connoisseur of distilled spirits, you must have at one point in time had questions about the nature of these drinks. It can be quite daunting to tell the difference between them and choosing the one that best suits your taste, mood, or style.

Luckily for you, we have done the research so we can bring you all the details about the differences between Everclear and moonshine.



Everclear is a neutral spirit, that is, a twice-distilled ethanol derived from fermenting grain and offered at different proofs of about 190 proof, 95% alcohol by volume (ABV). As of today, Everclear is believed to be the most potent alcohol on earth.

The multiple distillation steps help remove any traces of flavor or other signs of the original cereal grain used in the fermentation. It is used as a rectified spirit to mix other spirits to create blends such as liqueurs, brandy, whiskey, or in mixed drinks. 

In most cases, it is not meant to add any flavor; it simply helps to enhance the ethanol level in the finished liquid. Consumption of Everclear straight can be dangerous as it can cause alcohol poisoning and unconsciousness.

It is a clear liquid, with no taste, no smell, and no color. Because of its high alcohol content, Everclear is illegal in some US states.



Moonshine, also called white whiskey, mountain dew, and white lightning is a high-proof distilled liquor primarily made with sugar and corn. Many moonshine purists describe it as unaged and clear whiskey, known for its extremely high alcohol content and corn base.

The word moonshine is thought to reference the fact that production typically occurred during the night to avoid discovery. 


Generally, moonshine is also believed to be a liquor that is not taxed as it’s produced illegally. However, over the last few years, commercial distilleries have started marketing the legal versions of moonshine and some have become very popular.


These distilleries claim their moonshine offers a drinking experience that is close to the real stuff. Some common examples include Short Mountain Distillery’s Shine, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, and Ole Smokey’s Original Moonshine.

Given the sweet corn’s base blank slate nature, moonshine blends well with the addition of flavors; ideal pairings with spices, fruits, and other tasty mixtures are now offered by many distilleries.


The Right Equipment for the Job



However, many still prefer to make their own. When it comes to making moonshine, one of the most important decisions you can make is to invest in a quality still. 

At How to Moonshine, we recommend our Copper Top All-in-One whiskey still

This all-in-one stovetop still kit combines the benefits of both a stainless steel pot and a copper coil to make an economical still that still produces quality spirits from the comforts of home.

The Copper Top is also a favorite because it is able to act as both a still and a fermentor which saves you money and valuable space in the kitchen. 


Our Copper Top Stovetop kit has everything you need to get started on your first run. This all-in-one set includes a rigid multi-purpose barrel, a distillation tower, cheesecloth, a water pump, and a hydrometer! 


The highlight of this still is its copper coils. The copper coils are ideal as copper has an exceptional ability to conduct heat, reduce sulfur, and is exceptionally resistant to corrosion. Many experienced shiners insist on copper in their stills because of its ability to produce a better tasting moonshine. 


How a Moonshine Still Works



Basically, most moonshine stills have the same components: the pot, the burner, the condenser, and the doubler. The pot is filled with mash and heated.

Once it reaches 173 degrees Fahrenheit, the alcohol and the mass evaporates and rises into the cap. From there, it travels through a copper pipe called the arm and into a barrel known as the doubler. In the doubler, extra water condenses out of the alcohol vapor onto the sides of the barrel, doubling the purity or proof of the vapor.

The purified vapor then travels to a copper coil set in a barrel of cool running water known as the condenser or worm. It's here where the alcohol vapor condenses into liquid moonshine. 

What’s the Difference Between Everclear and Moonshine?


Is Everclear Moonshine


Both Everclear and Moonshine are unaged spirits; however, Everclear is made from grain and Moonshine from corn. Everclear is a brand name of a neutral-tasting, very potent grain alcohol. Moonshine is a general term used to describe illegally produced corn whiskey.

In summary, Everclear is intended to be water and pure ethanol with no flavor contribution. Moonshine is intended to be an unaged, rough beverage, but keeping the flavors added by the grains used in the fermentation process.

What is Everclear Made From?

Everclear is made from a fermented mixture of yeast, corn, sugar, and water. The resulting alcohol is 151 to 190 proof. While the 151 proof is the lower alcohol version of Everclear, the 190 proof version is the more potent and dangerous one.

Can you Drink Everclear?

With 95% alcohol content, Everclear is very potent. So if you want to try Everclear, it is smart not to drink it straight. Everclear isn’t produced and intended for a cocktail; rather, it is intended to be used in creating lower proof alcohols, such as in making limoncello or liqueurs. Try as much as you can not to use Everclear straight in cocktail recipes; it is just too unsafe and strong.

What is Everclear Used For?

Everclear is a multi-purpose product that can be a great addition to any kit. Whether you are preparing for your next hiking trail trip, preparing your home for an emergency, or assembling your grab bag, there’s a use for you.

It can be used as a beverage, fuel, astringent, to keep clothes smelling fresh, insect killer, disinfectant, fire starter, and many more. Also, Everclear is can be used to extract flavor from other ingredients to make tinctures and infusions due to its neutral flavor profile. 

Does Everclear Have a Taste?

Everclear tastes just like good vodka as it is basically a potent form of vodka. It has a burning and harsh aftertaste that often makes people cough.

If you want to taste it, make sure you dilute it with equal volumes of water. You can mix it with apple juice as it does a great job of hiding the flavor.

Which States is it Legal to Buy Everclear?

Everclear is so dangerous that it’s illegal to buy the 190-proof in some states. These states include Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Washington, Ohio, Nevada, New York, Michigan, Iowa, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maine, Florida, and California. In other states, alcohol vendors are allowed to sell Everclear. In Pennsylvania, you can only purchase Everclear if you can prove you won’t drink it but will use it for other purposes like cleaning.


Read more: Is Moonshine Illegal? 

What is the Proof of Moonshine?

Moonshine has a minimum alcohol content of 150 proof (75 percent ABV) and the maximum alcohol content is 190 proof (95 percent ABV).

Differences Between Moonshine and Vodka

With the legalization of moonshine in many American states, you might have been wondering what the differences between vodka and moonshine are. Vodka is a flavorless liquor made from barley, wheat, potatoes, or even plain sugar. Traditionally, moonshine is made from corn and sugar, often with other grains such as rye added. This usually gives a distinct ‘flavor’ to the liquor depending on the ingredients used. Moonshine is bottled directly from the still at about 125 proof whereas vodka is bottled at 80 or 100 proof.


Read more: The Smoothest Potato Vodka

Does Moonshine Get You Drunk?


Does Everclear get you drunk?


Since moonshine is not allowed to age, it tastes more like pure alcohol and features a definitive kick that even many big brand liquors can’t match.

At first, moonshine may not get you drunk but you will feel drunk once it kicks in. It all depends on the moonshine and the person’s tolerance.

How Much Everclear Does it Take to Get Drunk?


This depends on your level of alcohol tolerance, body mass, and how quickly/well your body processes alcohol. It’s impossible to have a set amount that will get someone drunk. However, it’s important to note that Everclear is two and a half times stronger than a shot of vodka.

What is The Strongest Proof Alcohol?


At 75.5 percent and 95 percent, 151 and 190 proof respectively, Everclear is the strongest proof alcohol on the market. Putting this in perspective, many popular liquors like rum and vodka are less than half Everclear’s potency of 190, typically around 80 proof. Drinking a shot of Everclear increases the effect of alcohol on an individual’s body.

What’s the Difference Between Moonshine and Grain Alcohol?


Grain alcohol is a form of distilled alcohol produced by distilling and fermenting grain. It is way stronger than many other alcoholic beverages, such as whiskey, vodka, and beer as the grain is usually allowed to get to high ethanol content before it is being distilled. Moonshine is a neutral spirit made from corn and corn. 

How Many Calories are in Everclear?


In a one-ounce serving of Everclear, there are 190 calories. In comparison, most alcoholic drinks clock in at about 96 calories a shot.

To be fair, if you are drinking straight Everclear shots, it is likely you are not too concerned about calories as much as you are trying to get stoned. When Everclear is mixed with juice or other beverages, it increases the nutritional and caloric content of the drink. It is important to keep this in mind when you are not drinking straight shots. It is possible to drink on a diet, however, Everclear makes it quite tricky.

What Can You Use Instead of Everclear?


Besides grain alcohol, the liquor with the next highest alcohol content is rum. Other liquors with high alcohol include wild turkey 101, stroh rum, St. Vincent rum, southern comfort, mescal, and absinthe.

Generally, the alcohol content of bourbons and rums is higher than many liquors. If you are looking for Everclear alternatives, 100 proof vodka would be your best bet.