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American Born Moonshine

The historic corn-based spirit gets a smooth finish from an independent Tennessee producer

by David Graver
on 13 October 2014

There's something rugged and pioneering about the history of moonshine. Whether it's Appalachian myths and the human spirit, the Whiskey Rebellion post-War of Independence, or a prominent surge during American Prohibition when it took on greater meaning, there's a story in every sip. Many families have bootleggers in their past (and present), producing rough homemade magic. The folks behind American Born Moonshine, Patrick Dillingham and Sean Koffel, are much the same: two individuals who sought out storied recipes and turned them into a refined product. None of the wonder is lost, as their approach is authentic—down to the mason jar packaging. But while the ABV might be high, there's something exceptionally smooth to their offerings. And there's a definitely a bootlegger spirit to their original recipe White Lightning and their Apple Pie iteration.

As for White Lightning, the duo sourced a 200-year-old recipe for un-aged corn whiskey—using only corn, sugar and water. It's 103 proof and once past the heavy alcohol nose, it's as easy as sweet corn. The Apple Pie is also a traditional moonshine recipe, involving cinnamon sticks and elements of apple juice. They also offer a Dixie option, the first of its kind and the result of blending with sweet tea. As for where the recipes came from, the founders share with CH, "We worked tirelessly to come up with the best batch, testing over 70 recipes before finally paring down to the three products that we call American Born Moonshine."


"Moonshine is the great American story," Dillingham and Koffel share. "The Moonshine industry was a major building block of America and one that has been misrepresented throughout the course of history." This motivated their desire to refine and share it, and they've got something major to prove: "That American Born Moonshine tastes good, mixes well and goes down smooth. It basically dispels all of the rumors and stories spread about moonshine throughout the ages." So, while this isn't the product of illegal bootleggers in the backyard, it is the product of moonshiners who've sought to perfect the drink and make it available to anyone who wants to have a go.

American Born Moonshine's range is available for purchase online for pick-up at various locations in Tennessee, or in select states (expanding daily), for $25.

Images by Cool Hunting

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