It’s Down the Hatch With The Tennessee Hootch
One friend approached cautiously, as if it were a pretty girl he wanted to meet, while another dived right in as if it were a swimming pool on a hot August day in Knoxville.
Me? I took a shot.
We were tasting moonshine. Hootch. Good ‘ol Mountain Dew. None of us had ever had it before, and our reactions to the first experience reflected our different drinking personalities.
I expected a burning sensation, a fire in the belly. But it went down pretty easily and yes, I had another! The cautious friend backed up and quickly shook his head from side to side. The other friend held out his hand for more.
This wasn’t the moonshine of the prohibition era, and we were not in the backwoods of the South. Junior Johnson was not speeding around the corner in his suped up Ford ready to race us out of the sight of revenuers. It’s legal stuff, the new Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, and it’s actually cherries in a jar of ‘shine. The friends had the cherries, and I just took the hooch straight down the hatch.
A couple of days earlier, I had received a press release on Ole Smoky opening up a moonshine distillery and tasting room in my childhood backyard of Gatlinburg, TN (see the story here). Naturally, I wanted to try it and the PR agency, BWR, said I could have some if I went to its Beverly Hills office to pick up a jar. And yes, if you think it felt a bit odd for someone from Tennessee to go to Beverly Hills to get some moonshine, you’re right!
They actually didn’t give me the real ‘shine, but cherries packed in the moonshine. According to the label, that reduces the alcohol from 100 proof to 50 proof. This had me running to the tiki bar – there’s one in PubClub.com’s World Headquarters – to check other liquors (151 rum is, of course is 151 proof; I wanted the strongest comparison).
Still, it packs a punch. I wouldn’t want to be with it anywhere near The World’s Most Dangerous Canadian, who thinks shots are something you do to occupy your time between gulps of beer. He would go through the entire mason jar in a flash, taking me down with him.
The jar now sits harmlessly (for the moment) in the refrigerator. But a friend from Atlanta is in town, and she knows I have the moonshine. Temptation may get the best of her and, oh wait, is that a knock at the door I hear!?