Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thirsty Thursdays: Moonshine Edition, Part One

Gather round, class, because I'm fixing to learn you something today. Or, maybe not. Perhaps you're already on-trend and a confirmed quaffer of white whiskey. Though, odds are, you've never heard of it ... at least not by the name white whiskey.

White Dog, White Lighting, Moonshine, call it what you will - white whiskey is on the rise. Simply put, white whiskey is the unaged version of brown whiskey; its the distilled liquid that usually goes into the barrel to be aged. While brown whiskey gets it color, and notes of other flavors, from its time in the barrel, white whiskey, or white dog, is "raw". Its neither malted, sugared, nor substantially aged. Its whiskey in its most pure and simple form. And, suddenly, its turning up everywhere.

Some of the buzz is likely due to, author Max Watman's latest book, "Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine" - which was released last month. I have yet to read it but I understand its an enjoyable romp, tracing the history of the moonshine "industry" from past to present.

Never one to let a good boozy trend pass me by, I thought I'd give the white dog a bit of a chase myself. I happened to get my hands on a bottle of Tuthilltown Spirits' Hudson New York Corn Whiskey and it is a most intriguing spirit indeed. Distilled from a mash of 100% New York State corn, one of our state's greatest agricultural resources, this whiskey is double-distilled and bottled at 46% alcohol by volume.

Straight up and out of the bottle, Hudson New York Corn Whiskey is heady stuff. It certainly smells like whiskey but, in terms of flavor, I'd say its more akin to grappa. It has that same, vaguely anesthetic, quality of a good grappa and a similar, almost floral, finish. Certainly I detect notes of the corn from which it was distilled and the final finish is very fresh, almost green, and ever-so-slightly sweet. Its a fine sipping whiskey, indeed, full of the warmth one expects from a good whiskey ... but not for the faint of heart. Its strong. Excellent and flavorful, but strong.

And, of course, its not really "moonshine" at all. In fact, according to the bottle, Hudson New York Corn Whiskey "is among the first legal whiskeys to be distilled in New York in over 70 years." How exciting! Tuthilltown Spirits produces a wide variety of small batch spirits, both aged and unaged, at the historic Tuthilltown Gristmill in Gardiner, New York. I'm thrilled to present a local (to me) distiller to you here as part of my regular cocktail feature and I urge you to take a spin around Tuthilltown's site and see what they're up to.

While this is the first time I've tried the corn whiskey, I've previously enjoyed both their bourbons and their aged whiskeys. I love what they're doing and I'm happy to support a local industry that turns out a great product. And, just so we're clear, I did not receive this whiskey as part of a promotion, nor does Tuthilltown know I'm writing about them. The husband provided me with the bottle, which he found in our local liquor store. (Does that man know me or what?)

Tune in next Thursday for Part Two of my "Moonshine" Series ... in which I'm sure to incur the ire of purists everywhere by mixing this pristine spirit into a cocktail or two. Because, yeah, that's just how I roll.

So, have you been bitten by the white dog? Have you sipped it solo? Or mixed it into a drink?And, if so, what did you think? Thirsty Diva wants to know.



vilges suola said...

Never heard of it! Am intrigued - I don't suppose it is easy to get hold of this side of the pond but I am definitely going to look out for some.

The Duo Dishes said...

Soo even though the term moonshine is not new, it is new to find out that it is whiskey. Of course, what you have there is much smoother than the moonshine we may know from back in the day. Looking forward to your cocktail.

Dianne1216 said...

I'd probably be on the floor if I drank this...LOL. When the weather gets a touch warmer, we must have a drink (and a bite), Diva! I'll be back in Manhattan by late April so it will be much easier to get together. I'll be in touch!

Christina said...

Wow! I'm not a hard liquor drinker but this is intriguing! My mom brought Grappa back from Italy once and I was the first to try it. I distinctly remember everybody asking me what it tasted like and (when I caught my breath) I told them "HOT DIRT!" Hahaha

The Diva on a Diet said...

vilges suola - I know there are other distillers who market white whiskeys ... so while you may not find Hudson in your area, you might be able to find another brand. If you do, let me know, I'd be curious to hear what you think.

Duo - You're right, I'm sure it is much smoother ... though I can't say as I've ever had real moonshine! LOL

Dianne - wait ... where are you going?! LOL Get in touch with me when you're back in the city and we'll hook up. Have a fabulous time, whatever you're doing! :)

Christina - LOL! That may be the funniest, and best, description I've ever heard for grappa! That stuff will put hair on your chest for sure! LOL

pixelgal said...

Potcheen is it? Same kinda stuff I guess. Hard to believe your Mom's a teetotaler!


Tangled Noodle said...

[I'm such a doofus - was here last night catching up and forgot to come back to this!]

White Dog is totally new to me and I'm sure the hubs will want to know about it! I'm not sure that I can handle this straight but I'm certainly looking forward to the cocktail. 8-D

Anonymous said...

Forwarding this to my husband, thanks for the info on this whiskey.

Mini Baker said...

Just found your blog and I'm so excited I did! I need some good "diet worthy" cocktails :)
-Mini B.

Erin from Long Island said...

I just stumbled upon your blog as well, and I am not sure what I am more excited about....your local alcoholic discovery, or my discovery of a blogger near me!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Oh, you're talking to a family that always has some white lightning in the liquor cabinet. Mr. GFE is quite a fan. We have varieties made in VA that are legal now, which is ... uh, nice. LOL We actually bought some of the legal kind on the way to hubby's college reunion back in the fall. His NC classmates were not at all impressed with this lower octane version. LOL Anyway as for me, I tried it long, long ago and the burning of it going down my throat deterred me from trying it again. ;-)


Megan Gordon said...

Yay for Thirsty Thursdays! Just stumbled across your blog and thoroughly enjoy a good, strong cocktail myself. White dog's definitely new to've sparked my interest.