By Matthew B. Rowley
White lightning, firewater, homebrew....call it what you will, it's liquor made in secret and outside the law, it's moonshine, a time honored institution and said to be the second oldest profession. Homegrown hooch has been distilled in North America since the Mayflower touched the shore. This richly illustrated, entertaining history and how-to, is full of quotes, lyrics and photos help celebrate the rich history of making moonshine. This book contains 24 popular recipes to get your own batch brewing.ï¾
Now hereâ€™s a volume you can really drink to! Somethingâ€™s brewing in these pages, and itâ€™s moonshineâ€”a word that evokes fascination, curiosity, and a warm sense of nostalgia. Never before has there been such a richly illustrated, thorough, and entertaining celebration of the history of making fine distilled spirits. Take a trip through moonshiningâ€™s past: travel from its beginnings as a pioneer staple to the dark days of prohibition, from quickly produced urban rotgut to todayâ€™s carefully handcrafted artisanal libations. Get in on the fun with how-to instructions that take into account all legal regulations and requirements before covering ingredients, building a still, basic distilling techniques, and dozens of recipes, all adapted for the beginner. Whiskies, brandies, grappa, schnapps: theyâ€™re all here, along with dozens of page-turning quotes, song lyrics, and vintage photographs and illustrations.
Food historian Rowley wants readers of this home-distillation guide to know something about alcohol and the law: "Without inspection and proper approvals, you are not permitted to make any amount for personal use. Not one drop." That said, Rowley provides clear and well-illustrated instructions for building a still, preparing a mash and distilling alcohol right in your own backyard. It's a complicated process, requiring a fire extinguisher, the skills of a good metalsmith and plenty of patience. For those without the time or skill, however, Rowley includes plenty of appealing recipes for cordials and cocktails that don't require homemade spirits. Fish House Punch, rumored to have left George Washington with a "crippling hangover," is a powerful mix of bourbon, peach brandy, Benedictine and dark rum. Simpler, and similarly all-American, is Cherry Bounce, made with bourbon, honey and a gallon of sweet and sour cherries. But Rowley's mother provides perhaps the best recipe, an easy maceration of fruit and sugar that tastes great over ice cream or on its own. Rounded out with trivia, tall tales and a brief history of bootlegging, a list of home brewing resources and a few warnings for drinkers ("Even for accomplished boozers, moonshine can make off with your dignity before you understand what's happening"), this may be the last book one will ever need on the art of in-house hooch. - Publishers Weekly