Nothing but clear, 100-proof American history.
Hooch. White lightning. White whiskey. Mountain dew. Moonshine goes by many names. So what is it, really? Technically speaking, "moonshine" refers to untaxed liquor made in an unlicensed still. In the United States, it’s typically corn that’s used to make the clear, unaged beverage, and it’s the mountain people of the American South who are most closely associated with the image of making and selling backwoods booze at night—by the light of the moon—to avoid detection by law enforcement.
In this book, writer Jaime Joyce explores America’s centuries-old relationship with moonshine. From the country’s early adoption of Scottish and Irish home-distilling techniques and traditions to the Whiskey Rebellion of the late 1700s to a comparison of the moonshine industry pre- and post-Prohibition and a look at modern-day craft distilling, Joyce examines the historical context that gave rise to moonshining in America and explores its continued appeal. Even more fascinating than the popularity of the liquor itself is moonshine’s widespread effect on U.S. pop culture: moonshine runners were NASCAR’s first marquee drivers; white whiskey was the unspoken star of countless Hollywood film and television productions; and numerous songs inspired by making shine have come from such musicians as Dolly Parton, Steve Earle, Metallica, Ween, and others. While we can’t condone making your own illegal liquor, reading Moonshine will give you a new perspective on the profound implications that underground moonshine making has had on life in America.
"In an age of craft distilling, moonshine has been reborn as an artisanal spirit. So it is only fitting that white lightning has also gotten as eloquent and learned a chronicler as Jaime Joyce. Her book, so informative and so pleasurable, deserves a toast of its own." - Samuel G. Freedman, journalist and author
"Joyce's Moonshine is an enlightening look at a truly American creation and its role in our history and culture. As moonshine continues to gain popularity, this book is a must-read for bartenders, mixologists, or cocktail enthusiasts looking for a primer on the subject." - Chris M. Walsh, Zagat
"The history of stock car racing is intertwined with the history of bootlegging and the men who raced their illegal liquid cargo in souped-up Fords through the back roads of Appalachia. A new book about the distinctly American spirit, Moonshine: A Cultural History of America's Infamous Liquor by Jaime Joyce, celebrates all things 'shine and includes an examination of its role in the rise of racing. Some greats left a legacy on the track as well as on the open road. Drink it in." - Alexandra Fenwick, Sports Illustrated