World Moonshine Day June 5 celebrates a century or more of making illicit, high-proof alcohol. The term moonshine originated from the need to make it in secret – by the light of the moon.
Technology-wise it typically uses a single (40-50% alcohol) or dual (up to 96% alcohol) column fractional distillation still – something to this day is illegal to own in the US. Its reputation for hooch related to the use of car radiators as condensers. In those days, they used a lot of lead solder that could lead to blindness or kidney failure.
To test for lead, you set fire to an ounce. If it burned blue, it was alright. If the flame was yellow, it would not kill you. And, if it was red – you’re dead.
GadgetGuy is partial to a nip or three of this wonderful spirit, embodied so well in Pacific Moonshine from our friends at Cape Byron Distillery and craft brewing legends Stone & Wood. We covered the fantastic story of how unused pale ale became Moonshine during COVID-lockdown last year.
What is Pacific Moonshine?
Fortunately, this Moonshine is strictly legal and made to best hooch practices.
It is a clear 44% alcohol spirit bursting with hints of tropical fruits such as fresh pineapple, lychee, passionfruit, and mango, along with hints of malt on the nose. The taste is citrusy and dry with a medium to long finish.
Now I am a Bundy rum drinker (ex-Queenslander), but I soon found it went exceptionally well as a base to most soft drinks, fruit juices and iced tea. It is refreshing rather than ‘alcoholy’.
Celebrate World Moonshine Day (which aptly coincides with World Environment Day).
Cape Byron Distillery has teamed up with CAPI, makers of award-winning sparkling mineral waters led by Melbourne foodies Pitzy Folk and Emma Evans. Their forte is the use of 100% botanical ingredients.
The marriage resulted in ‘Moonlight Paloma Bundle’ – Pacific Moonshine and CAPI grapefruit soda to prepare a fresh ‘Moonlight Paloma’ cocktail. The cost is $89.99.
But there is more. The inGrained Foundation – a national not-for-profit based in the Northern Rivers, supporting grassroots environmental and social charities – will receive a $15,000 donation from the sales.
Capi Grapefruit soda ($2 per bottle) is not that typical astringent grapefruit you use to eat on that diet! This uses Cuban pink grapefruit, and while it is bitter, cold-pressed oils bring out an underlying sweetness making this one lively soda. It is perfect with Pacific Moonshine. It is not hard on the waistline either – about 100 calories per 250ml bottle.
We tried the Moonlight Paloma, and it is best with some ice and optionally a squeeze of lime. If you like a bite, a little tart, sour puss, then this is a 10/10.
Another recipe that we really like is Jungle Bush Bird – shaken over ice – not stirred.