25 January, 2011

(Don't) Drink Early, Drink Often

Mountain Dew, White Lightnin', Corn Likker (a.k.a. Moonshine)

Now, it's mighty surprising to the Duchess that a certain libation has come into the cooler consciousnesses of these hep L.A. cats.  Back where she comes from, corn liquor (though not uncommon) ain't the drink of choice in high-falutin' circles.  That's because it will burn your guts out.  The Duchess herself has watched at least a couple dozen folks lose their minds over the stuff.  It has this incredible ability to creep up on you and knock your eyes into the back of your head when you're not looking.  Tastes like hell too. 

Cecconi's, inventor of the "Moonhattan" (ain't no such thing)

In Kentucky (and other related Southern states* too boring to mention), the demand for moonshine remains steady because many backwoods counties are still "dry"; that is, no alcohol legally may be sold or purchased there.  Bootlegging and moonshining are the last resorts for acquiring a bit of drink around those parts, which can be hours away by car to the closest Liquor Barn (best store ever).  It's a drink of necessity only, at least among folks who've ventured beyond Mike's Hard Lemonade

Typically you'd just pass around the table a dirty jug like this one, take a swig, and sit back and wait for the amb'lance to arrive. 


You can make it yourself.  1 part corn meal to 2 parts sugar, add water, and sit back and wait for the police to arrive.


Confounding, then, that it is very en vogue among the Hollywood set to sidle up to the bar and put good money down for a moonshine cocktail.  It's old news by now that "Boardwalk Empire" perhaps single-handedly revived Prohibition-era aesthetics; we don't need Prohibition-era flavors to accompany them.  Though the Duchess applauds the efforts of distilleries to elevate moonshine's down-home and decidedly redneck reputation, she wonders, why even bother?  Country people like it the way it is.  Cheap, dirty and mean (just like we are). 

Clear Corn Whiskey, Just Not the Original

* "That's why all the folks on Rocky Top get their corn from a jar. . . . Good ole Rocky Top!"

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