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.


What is Everclear?

 What is Everclear


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.


To be blunt, at 190 proof, Everclear is 95% alcohol. Consuming this spirit can not only be dangerous, it could also be fatal. 


Everclear has such a high proof of alcohol there isn't room for any additives in this spirit. While this means that you don't have to worry about extra sugar or caffeine, it really means that it shouldn't be consumed straight. So unless you want to dilute your Everclear with water, you will likely be adding something that includes sugar or caffeine in order to mix it. 

What Grain is Everclear Made From? 


Everclear is made by the American company Luxco (formerly known as the David Sherman Corporation). While Luxco is not eager to spill the details on their signature recipe for Everclear, they have offered some insights. 

Luxco has said that the recipe for Everclear is made with corn and they have also confirmed that Everclear is gluten-free. 

This makes sense since grain alcohol is normally made from corn when made in the U.S. 


What Kind of Alcohol is Everclear?


Banned in several US states for its super-high alcohol content. To put it into clear perspective, Everclear is twice as potent as the strongest mainstream hard liquor.

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.


What is Moonshine?


What is Moonshine


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.


Check out Is it Safe to Make Moonshine? 

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 still recommend our Magnum Still. The Magnum is our largest still yet so you can create even the largest recipes. This means less time making moonshine and more time enjoying it. 

When it comes to taste, the Magnum has been designed for flavor. Its copper coils not only cool efficiently, but they also neutralize any sulphur in your shine. 

With a double vapor chamber, you also get a higher proof shine in a single run. Less time, stronger shine. 


Our Magnum 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. 


 whiskey still kit


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?


What is the difference between everclear and 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.


Check out What Does Moonshine Taste Like? 


What Kind of Alcohol is Everclear? 

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.



What Proof is Everclear? 

Believe it or not, Everclear is actually 190 proof. Perhaps this is why many bartenders refer to Everclear as 'jet fuel'. This makes Everclear twice as strong as traditional vodka and is also likely the reason it is illegal in at least 11 states. The actual number of states where it is banned fluctuates as low as 11 and as high as 16. 

There is good reason for these bans. After all, as any seasoned moonshiner knows, drinking high proof alcohol is not right for every drinker. Those who are not able to consume a high proof alcohol responsibly are at risk for over consumption which could lead to alcohol poisoning, or impaired judgement. 


Everclear Alcohol Content 

While 190 proof spirit is an extremely strong liquor, it is not the strongest alcohol you can make. You can actually make liquor that is 200 proof. However, this liquor has to remain in an airtight container in order to retain its proof. The reason for this is because if the spirit is exposed to air it will absorb water and the proof will be compromised. 


Can you Drink Everclear?

Many people want to try Everclear because of the hype associated with it. It is often mislabeled as moonshine. However, this is not the case. Moonshine is only truly spirits that are made illicitly. Everclear is simply a high proof spirit that is commercially made. 


Of course, as it is often labelled as moonshine or used in lieu of moonshine in many popular moonshine recipes, many want to try 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.


How Much Everclear to Get Drunk? 

 How much everclear to get drunk


Drinking Everclear is extremely dangerous because it only takes a small amount in order to seriously impair you. 


One shot of Everclear is more than equal to two standard drinks. Drinking Everclear as you would drink regular alcohol would quickly result in loss of consciousness and even alcohol poisoning. 


In the United States, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher. This is normally achieved when you drink between two or three drinks in one hour (depending on several factors such as weight). It only takes one 1.5 oz shot of Everclear to bring you to this level. 

With a blood alcohol level between 0.06 to 0.09 percent, many people will experience impairments in balance, reaction time, speaking, and inhibitions.

It can also result in a drop in self control and reduced judgement.  


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 can be used to extract flavor from other ingredients to make tinctures and infusions due to its neutral flavor profile. 


What Does Everclear Taste Like? 

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.


Absinthe vs. Everclear

Everclear and absinthe


While both absinthe and Everclear are high-proof alcohol, there are some distinct differences. 

While Everclear has recently popped up on the market as a commercially distilled option in lieu of moonshine, absinthe has a long history. 


In fact, it is widely believed that Vincent van Gogh was addicted to absinthe. His affinity for high proof alcohol, in addition to his psycosis, was believed to contribute to his suicide. 


While both absinthe and Everclear are high proof grain alcohol, absinthe differs in its origin, color and taste.

Absinthe is of Swiss origin and is made by softening specialty herbs. It is made by a process known as macerating. With the addition of the ingredients  fennel and anise absinthe is often characterized by its licorice flavor. In addition to its unique flavor, absinthe aslo has a green hue which is due to the inclusion of wormwood. 


Banned and Dangerous? 

One common connection between Everclear and absinthe is their illicit nature. Until recently absinthe was banned in all of the US and most of Europe. Everclear is only available in certain areas of the United States.

While absinthe was originally banned by the FDA because on of its ingredients, wormwood, was believed to contain a potentially dangerous toxic chemical-thujone.

While it is true that thujone is found in small amounts in absinthe, it is not believed to be the true danger associated with absinthe. 

The danger in consuming both absinthe and Everclear lies in the high proof of the spirits. While absinthe has an alcohol content of 45–74% by volume, Everclear is much higher with as much as 95% alcohol by volume.


Check out our easy absinthe recipe here


In Which States is it Legal to Buy Everclear?


Is it legal to buy moonshine in south carolina?


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). In this way it is very similar to Everclear and the same warnings should be considered in regard to its consumption. 


What are the 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 moonshine 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 Everclear affects your body 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 malted barley. 

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.


Is Everclear Legal in the UK? 

 Is everclear legal in the UK


The good news is that high proof grain alcohol is not illegal in the United Kingdom. The bad news is that it doesn't seem to actually be available. 

It may be because there is not a big market for high proof grain alcohol in the UK. Perhaps this is because in the United Kingdom 24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines. Furthermore, 27% of drinkers in Great Britain binge drink on their heaviest drinking days (over 8 units for men and over 6 units for women).


Where is Everclear Legal in the United States? 

The legality of Everclear varies from state to state and it is important to stay up to date on whether it is legal to purchase and consume Everclear in your area. This is a great way to avoid any potential trouble or disappointment when hitting the local liquor store. 


Check out Is Moonshine illegal? 


Is Everclear Legal in Tennessee? 

Yes! Currently it is legal to purchase and consume Everclear in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.


Is Everclear Legal in South Carolina? 

Yes, it is currently legal to purchase and consume Everclear in South Carolina, but this can change at any time. The states that currently ban the sale of Everclear include California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Nevada, Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Minnesota.