Moonshine has a storied legacy in North Carolina. Certainly plain white lightning, without flavor or added ingredients, is the foundation of this history. However, flavored or infused moonshine is also a significant part of how moonshine was transformed for easier drinking. Often these infusions included fresh fruits and sugar in order to smooth the rough edges of homemade alcohol.
Bringing the flavorful moonshine tradition into modern craft distilling, this month’s feature by Elevated Mountain Distilling Co. in Maggie Valley is fun and delicious. Raymond Fairchild Root Beer White Lightning (70 proof) is a tribute to the legendary banjoist from Maggie Valley. The moonshine is based on his original recipe.
On the nose, it smells exactly as you’d expect – it’s definitely root beer, with a hint of cream soda, too. Tasting the moonshine, there is a balance between the moonshine base and the root beer flavor. It’s smooth and not too sweet. This is definitely worth seeking out in the N.C. section of the ABC stores. Or stop in at the distillery for a tour and tasting the next time you’re in the mountains.
What to make with it? Yes, a boozy root beer float!
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