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Ole Smoky Moonshine Mint Julep Recipe

Ole Smoky Moonshine Mint Julep Recipe

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  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Ounce simple syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 Ounces Old Smoky Moonshine White Lightnin’
  • 1 fresh mint sprig
  • Lime for garnish


Place mint leaves and simple syrup in a highball glass. Muddle mint leaves with syrup. Add ice, and then pour moonshine over ice. Garnish with lime and mint syrup.


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5 Delicious Cocktails You Can Make With Moonshine

Moonshine has had a lot of nicknames throughout the years: White Lightning. Mountain Dew. Tennessee white whiskey. Hooch.

But modern moonshine has come a long way since it risked blinding Appalachian imbibers in the 1800s.

Thanks to changing liquor laws and a renewed interest in artisanal and local products, you can now order "moonshine" — a term that generally refers to unaged white whiskey s — online and at a number of restaurants across the country.

According to TIME's Josh Sanburn, making moonshine is now legal in Tennessee, and big brands such as Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, and Ole Smokey are cashing in on the growing trend.

Though true aficionados will tell you that moonshine is best consumed by its lonesome, the stuff still packs a punch. Here are some delicious moonshine cocktails for those of us who can no longer stomach straight shots.

Bee Sting Cocktail: Tennessee restaurant The Loveless Cafe is proud to show off its collection of moonshine cocktails. The Bee Sting in particular stands out — it's made with honey, squeezed lemon and a half a cup of sweetened or unsweetened ice tea. This is quite the Southern treat.

Grown Up Shirley Temple: Ole Smoky Distillery makes moonshine in several flavors, but a must-try is the company's Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Cherries. Add two moonshine-infused cherries to lime juice and ginger ale, plus and a shot of the juice from the jar, and you have a lightly-alcoholic take on a virgin classic.

Jungle Juice: The whole point of Jungle Juice is to mix everything you have on hand — why not add in some moonshine? There are a ton of different recipes, but a good rule of thumb is to add fruit juices, sprite, fruit punch, and pre-cut fruit into a huge cooler with 2 liters of alcohol. There go your memories!

Raspberry Fizz: Dark Corner Distillery has a slew of yummy moonshine recipes, but the most delicious-sounding is the Raspberry Fizz: It's made with moonshine, orange liqueur, raspberries, egg whites, and seltzer water. Muddle the raspberries with the orange liqueur, add the rest of the ingredients and shake vigorously, drop in ice, strain, and top off with seltzer water.

White Julep Moonshine Cocktail: Update the classic summer Mint Julep cocktail with some good ole' fashioned moonshine. Prepare a classic Mint Julep (here's a great recipe), but in lieu of bourbon, add some moonshine. Just be careful — this will knock you off your feet.


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Kentucky Mint Julep Recipe

Like the bourbon that goes into making it or the colonels of legend who supposedly drank it, the mint julep is every bit as much a part of Kentucky culture as horse racing and hot browns. While the term “mint julep” first appeared in 18th Century America and early juleps were made using rum and gin, under the modern definition a mint julep is made only with straight bourbon whiskey, and is therefore a thoroughly Kentuckian cocktail.

I endured 13 years of steamy, pestilential summers in Washington, D.C., a time that gave me a great appreciation for the mint julep. In a very southern summer climate like that of Washington, the warmth of whiskey is often more torture than pleasure, and I found I could only really enjoy whiskey between May and September if I was either bone-tired or sealed away in a room air conditioned down to refrigeration temperatures (and admittedly, there are quire a few bars and restaurants in Washington that maintain such a frigid micro-climate).

Soon I found myself turning to the traditions of My Old Kentucky Home and its juleps for relief, and since so few bars in Washington serve juleps, that meant making them at home. I even started growing mint in quantity to fill my need for mint juleps and minty sun tea (another southern favorite of mine). This is the recipe I perfected over time, and the proportions below fill my 1-liter pewter pitcher. That is enough for four juleps in normal old-fashioned “rocks” glasses.

2 cups of white granulated sugar
A generous handful of mint sprigs
Plenty of ice
1 bottle of middling bourbon whiskey

Making the julep syrup
(Credit: Richard Thomas)

Before you begin making juleps, place your pewter or silver julep cups (if you have them) in the freezer to frost. I freeze my pewter serving pitcher as well.

The first step is making the julep syrup. Set aside the four most attractive mint sprigs, and strip the leaves from the remainder. Chop those mint leaves, and combine the 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Put your chopped mint leaves in the saucepan, stir up the contents and bring it to a boil. Turn the saucepan to a simmer and keep it on the stove until it has been reduced by about a third. Strain the mint leaves out of the syrup and let the syrup cool.

You can make the syrup well in advance of making mint juleps, as it stores well in the refrigerator. If you intend to make juleps frequently, make and store the syrup in quantity to reduce your drink-making labor.

When it is time to make the juleps, crush or shave enough ice to fill your pitcher (or julep cups) halfway. If you wish to make your juleps less alcoholic, simply add more ice, but don’t exceed the 2/3s mark. Add your syrup to the ice. Since I use a pitcher, I pour in all the syrup, but if you are working by the glass, then pour 1/4 of your syrup into each glass or julep cup. Pour in enough bourbon to finish filling the glass or cup and give the drink a good stir. Insert one of those attractive mint sprigs you held back and serve.

Lemon Drop

The Lemon Drop first squeezed to life in San Francisco sometime during the 1970s. Its inventor, Norman Jay Hobday, an out-of-work Vietnam vet turned saloon owner, is also credited with opening the country’s first fern bar, a concept that mixed house plants and Tiffany lamps with throngs of upwardly mobile urbanites.

Both were an instant hit. And for two-plus decades, the Lemon Drop dominated cocktail menus from North Beach to Bangkok, hooking a generation of bar patrons on its boozy-tart-sweet mélange of vodka, citrus and sugar. In 2006, Oprah famously served one to Rachael Ray on her show, which is like the ultimate nod of widespread acceptance and further solidified the drink’s place in popular culture.

Some mislabel the Lemon Drop as a Martini. But its closest cocktail kin is actually the Crusta, a New Orleans invention that dates to the 1850s and, like the Lemon Drop, is distinguished by its sugared rim. It may be tempting to save time by skipping this important step, but take the extra minute to coat the rim with sugar. It’s worth the effort, and that first saccharine brush against the lips before the onrush of vodka, lemon and orange fills your mouth is the drink’s calling card.

While the Lemon Drop is usually served in a cocktail glass, it can also be poured as a shot—a common occurrence at college bars and night clubs. However you choose to serve it, the best results are produced by using fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. Bottled sweet and sour can get the job done if it’s your only option, and that is often the case at bars. But the fresh lemon with the sugar is what gives the cocktail its signature flavor. Besides, if you’re going to indulge, you might as well enjoy the best version of the drink. Not only will it taste better, but fresh ingredients are also less likely to cause ill-effects the next morning.

Given the drink’s sweet lemony character, it’s ripe for experimentation. Some bars, and home bartenders, modify Lemon Drops with citrus- or berry-flavored vodkas, while others muddle fresh fruit into the cocktail. But before you start riffing, try the classic. It has lasted this long for a reason and deserves to be sipped in its original form.

What to Expect When Visiting Tennessee Distilleries

If you’ve been to a distillery tour before, you might have expectations for Tennessee distilleries. However, the laws that dictate what a distillery can and cannot provide may vary from one state to another. Here are some highlights of what you can expect on your visit.

Tennessee distilleries can serve samples up to half an ounce per product offering. Distilleries that have more than a few products usually limit the number of samples they give out to 8 or 10.

Samples may be free while on a tasting tour, but some distilleries may still charge for them.

They may also serve mixed drinks as long as the spirit is made at the distillery.

Tennessee whiskey distilleries can sell bottles at the distillery itself, up to 25 750-mL bottles per visitor per day.

Get your Tennessee Whiskey Trail passport from your first stop on the trail, or download the official app. Collect ink stamps on your physical passport or digital stamps on your app and earn a free t-shirt when you complete them.

You’ll also hear some of these terms when you visit the whiskey distilleries. Here’s what they mean.

  • Angel’s share – the amount of liquid lost in the barrel while aging
  • Barrel proof – the proof whiskey is aged before being bottled
  • Dram – a shot of whiskey
  • Extraction – when the liquid pulls in other flavors, such as from the charcoal in the Lincoln County Process, or the oak barrel where it ages
  • Mash – the mixture of cooked grains and water before yeast is added to start fermentation
  • Mash bill – the recipe the grains and their ratios used to make whiskey
  • Proof – the measurement of beverage alcohol on a scale of 200. For instance, a 100 proof spirit contains 50% alcohol by volume.
  • Whiskey thief – a tubular instrument used by a master distiller to extract small portions of whiskey from a barrel for sampling
  • Whiskey flight – a sample serving of multiple whiskeys designed to provide variety and compare a range of spirits

Ole Smoky Moonshine created from century-old corn whiskey recipe

Moonshine is a tricky word to define. It’s still largely regarded as the illegal hooch that Appalachian distillers would produce clandestinely to make a buck during hardscrabble times, using corn mash as the main ingredient.

But for Ole Smoky master distiller Justin King, moonshine is the clear, unaged spirit that his distillery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, produces in many varieties, including Original Moonshine, a whiskey made from corn grown by local farmers in East Tennessee and from a century-old recipe that uses a grain bill of 80 percent corn (the remaining 20 percent is a secret ingredient that, according to the distillery, sets Ole Smoky Moonshine apart from the rest of the white whiskeys produced legally in the U.S.).

Other Ole Smoky whiskeys, which have been recently added to store and bar shelves in Texas, range from more nontraditional flavors like Apple Pie and Big Orange. And they all come in mason jars, a clever nod back to the long history Ole Smoky’s founders have at discreetly producing moonshine in the mountains, well before Tennessee law changed in 2009 to allow the distillation of spirits.

“We’re a very family-oriented company that’s made moonshine here for hundreds of years, and we want to bring our heritage to places like Austin,” King said.

He added that the wide range of flavors make the Ole Smoky portfolio diverse, with many ways to incorporate the moonshine in cocktail recipes. One such recipe is this Harvest Mule, which uses White Lightnin’, a neutral grain spirit distilled six times and created as an alternative to vodka or gin, and Apple Pie, a blend of pure apple juice, ground cinnamon and other spices with moonshine. It’s one of the bestselling flavors, King said, “because apple pie and moonshine go hand in hand.”

Mint julep recipes for the Kentucky Derby

It's Kentucky Derby time, which means one thing: Mint juleps. Yep, we're excited about the race and the spectacle, but let's get real: We're more excited to find the perfect recipe for our icy cocktail (and see the awesome hats, of course).

We've that in mind, we've gathered six different recipes so you can find the variation of mint julep that's right for you, so you can enjoy your Kentucky Derby party.

The traditional recipe

The best thing about mint juleps? They're so simple to make. To make the traditional version of the recipe, all you need is Kentucky whisky, mint simple syrup, fresh mint and a glass filled with crushed ice. That's it. And if you want to make prep even easier, go ahead and prepare the syrup ahead of time. Find the recipe from Betty Crocker here.

If you're a fan of champagne

Want to add some bubbly to your mint julep? Go ahead, we won't tell anyone. Try this recipe from, which features champagne, whiskey, a sugar cube, mint leaves and a garnish. Yeah, it's a pretty strong drink (so go slow), but it'll make you feel super sophisticated while you're watching one of the country's most celebrated sporting events. Find the recipe here.

If you can't let go of your sweet tea

Mint juleps are Southern concoctions, but you can double up on the Southern-ness by adding some sweet tea to the mix. The recipe consists of tea, sugar, water, mint leaves, bourbon, lemon slices, mint springs and crushed ice. Plus, it doesn't have as much alcohol as the traditional version, so it's perfect if you want to go a little less crazy this Derby. Find the recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen here.

If you want to take advantage of strawberry season

Is bourbon a bit too strong for you? Well then, you can infuse it with strawberries (or any other fruits, for that matter) and it'll make it sweeter. But this is something you'll want to do a little ahead of time, because you'll have to place the strawberry/bourbon mix in a dark place for 3-7 days before you can strain it. But, if that seems like too much work, remember: You'll be able to freeze it for up to a month. Find the recipe from Cookie + Kate here.

If you want to take it back to college

Four words: Mint julep Jell-O shots. Yes, it's a thing, and we're here for it. The Kentucky Derby, aka "The Run for the Roses," may be a fancy event, but that doesn't mean you can't down some Jell-O shots -- plus, these are garnished with a mint sprig, so that makes them sophisticated, right? For this recipe, you'll need bourbon, lime juice, lime Jell-O, mint leaves and water. No fancy silver cups needed. Find the recipe from Brown Eyed Baker here.

And finally: Moonshine mint julep

Of course the Internet has a recipe for moonshine mint julep -- and of course it looks delicious. To make it, you'll need moonshine (duh), mint leaves, simple syrup, crushed ice, a fresh mint sprig and lime to garnish. It's a modern spin on the julep that we just can't say no to. Find the recipe by Endless Simmer here.

Watch the video: People Try Moonshine For The First Time (July 2022).


  1. Mumi

    yeah kinda good

  2. Neshura

    This variant does not approach me.

  3. Horia

    What would you do if you were me?

  4. Landry

    What a pleasant response

  5. Fenriktilar

    I have sympathy for you.

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