Archive for February, 2012

New chapter in the history of Tennessee whiskey making

February 21st, 2012 1 comment

A new chapter began yesterday in the story of Tennessee’s whiskey making heritage when three living legends of moonshine making signed a deal with Short Mountain Distillery.

Jimmy Simpson, Ricky Estes and Ronald Lawson (pictured left to right) all grew up in Cannon County around Short Mountain where some families on hard times relied on illicit moonshine to make ends meet. It’s a story of struggle, honor, and perseverance, and it’s the story of America.

A change in state law created an opportunity for their treasured craft to finally come out in the open. The three men bring with them over 100 years of history and backwoods whiskey making experience to our distillery.

Here’s an excerpt from a story by local CBS television affiliate News Channel 5 (WTVF). Check back for links to local newspaper articles as they post.

“It’s kind of a dream come true. I don’t think that any of us ever realized we would be making moonshine legally,” said Simpson.

They are using the same locally grown ingredients and the same method but this time, following the law.

“We know what we are doing. I might not talk very well, but I know how to make moonshine,” said Estes.

“It’s really something worth preserving,” said Short Mountain founder, Billy Kaufman.

Kaufman built the distillery to save what he calls a dying art and a lost piece of the area’s heritage.

“They might be lost in another 10 to 20 years and no one knows how to do these things again,” said Kaufman.

Short Mountain Distillery will open to the public March 23. Be sure to see this story in the Murfreesboro Post, Smithville Review and Cannon Courier:

Bacon infused Moonshine and Bourbon

February 4th, 2012 1 comment


I’m certainly not the first person to infuse bacon into alcoholic beverages. A quick search led me to a number of very informative posts by fellow bacon lovers who all seem to use roughly the same process called “fat washing.” Here’s how Southern California mixologist Don Lee describes it.

The fat is actually what makes this infusion possible. Fat is non-polar, while drinking alcohol (40% abv) is mostly water and thus polar. This prevents the fat from being dissolved into the alcohol. The alcohol itself (ethanol), however is both polar and nonpolar, allowing water to be dissolved into itself as well fat soluble compounds. What this means is that flavorful compounds from the fat will transfer into the alcohol while keeping the fat itself separate. This, combined with the higher freezing point of fat v. low freezing point of alcohol makes it possible to solidify the fat in a standard freezer and easy to remove.

Lee uses 1 oz. of rendered bacon fat in a 750ml bottle of bourbon. It’s the same recipe Jacob Grier says PDT uses in New York. You may be confident that you won’t screw up a whole 750ml bottle of bourbon or moonshine. I’m not. So, here’s my recipe that should make at least six cocktails.

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Bacon infused Moonshine and Bourbon:

  • 4-6 strips of thick hickory smoked bacon
  • 6 ounces of bourbon (I used Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon) or moonshine or both

Cook the bacon and collect a tablespoon of rendered bacon fat. Pour it into 6 ounces of bourbon or moonshine and let sit for two hours. This is probably a larger ratio of bacon to bourbon or moonshine than other recipes, but I love bacon. You can shove the bacon in your moonshine or your mouth or both. I did both.

After the bacon flavor has been taken by the spirit, pour into a plastic cup and place into the freezer until all the fat solidifies. This may take a few hours. Remove the fat, filter and serve neat or in cocktails that are complimented by a smokey (smokey maple bourbon) flavor.

Spreading the Gospel of the Shine

February 2nd, 2012 No comments

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They’re pink, blue and white and represent a good year’s worth of ignoring television and Twitter.

This isn’t all of the permits required before we can legally sell our authentic Tennessee Moonshine, but combined with the others they ought to get us from Memphis to Bristol without too much worry about going to prison. Now if we can keep the ’51 Chevy pickup under 70MPH as we travel the state, we should be fine.

God Bless America, and God Bless the Shine.