Ole Smoky: 100 Years of Moonshine, TheHoochLife.com


Ole Smoky Distiller, Joe Baker.

Moonshine — white lightning, mountain dew, hooch — was illegally distilled by the light of the moon in the Appalachians for nearly half a century until 2009, when Tennessee lifted the ban on distilling spirits. And when that happened, the folks at Ole Smoky were ready. Set in the Smoky Mountains, the aptly-named distillery is the state’s first to produce now-legal moonshine.

Using a 100-year-old secret family recipe, Ole Smoky’s traditional corn whiskey is made of 80% corn, 20% of a secret ingredient, and is best for sipping. All Ole Smoky moonshines are 100-proof and come three additional varieties: White Lightnin’, a smoother, more distilled spirit for use in cocktails; Apple Pie, which tastes as warm and gooey as the real thing; and a Cherries version (fruits soaking in the old, Ole Smoky elixir).

Proprietor Joe Baker is no stranger to moonshine. He grew up on it. Baker made his first batch of (then illegal) moonshine before he was in high school. Born and raised in the Smoky Mountains, moonshine was always a part of Baker’s ancestry, and today it’s still a family affair. “When we say family business, we mean it,” says Baker, who prefers drinking his ‘shine neat. “Most of the people who work with us, we’ve known our whole lives. People sometimes tease that everyone in eastern Tennessee are cousins, but we really are. There are about 20 to 30 employees who are really related.” Read More


~ by Tina Benitez-Eves on December 1, 2011.

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