Whiskey Vs. Moonshine: What's The Difference?



Distilled beverage fans are a loyal bunch---they find their beverage of choice and center their preferences around social gatherings, family barbecues, and quiet evenings at home. How do we come to experience and develop preferences for certain food and drink, and what drives us to become discriminating consumers as we continue to fuel the feud around all things whiskey, moonshine, bourbon, etc.? Is there a difference between them, and how does it contribute to our experience with them? Read on to discover the difference between Palmetto offerings of whiskey and moonshine, and why each of them needs their own unique place in your cabinet:

What is whiskey, anyway?

Whiskey is an alcoholic beverage derived from grain mash and aged in wood barrels for unique taste and flavor. Despite what some may think about different whiskeys and their bouquet, the only flavors that a whiskey pulls from are those in the barrels that they are housed in during the aging process. Both the type of grain used in producing mash and the kind of wood that the barrel is constructed with play a significant role in the kind of alcohol that will be produced.

Within this broad category of distilling come different subsects, each with their own signature distillation methods and mash blends that differentiate their product from others. Bourbon, for instance, is produced almost exclusively in Kentucky, and is derived from corn mash and a specific combination of aging techniques that give it its distinctly sweet, full-bodied flavor.

Tennessee whiskey is similar to bourbon, but it is made solely in Tennessee. It goes through an additional process called the Lincoln county filtering process that passes it through thick layers of maple charcoal before coming to rest in its aging barrel. Staunchly loyal consumers of this beverage claim that the extra process of filtering contributes to a more mellow drinking experience.

Rye whiskey, a more classic blend including over 50 percent rye, virtually disappeared in the years following Prohibition, but it is making a serious comeback, thanks to industry giants like Palmetto distillery. Rye gives this golden elixir a much spicier flavor profile, and it contributes to many of the classic whiskey cocktails that we have come to know and enjoy as part of our social culture. The Manhattan, old fashioned, and whiskey sour are all cocktails that use rye whiskey as their base, and boy, are we glad for such a substantial contribution to our happy hour!

What about moonshine?

Despite the wide variance in flavor, moonshine and whiskey have very similar production processes. Despite its back-woods inception during the height of Prohibition, when it rose to popularity simply because it was considered taboo, it has remained a consistent part of American social life and American history. Distillation methods of moonshine have greatly improved since the infamous runs across the southern United States; these days, moonshine makers have to follow correct distillation practices and safety protocols to legally sell their product. Most moonshine has a corn base and is aged for a very short time, if at all. It resembles vodka more closely than whiskey, and due to its blank canvas flavor profile, it mixes well with fruit, vanilla, and other flavors to make it even more pleasant.


Palmetto Distillery: Making room for both!

At Palmetto Distillery, we have a rich, historical tradition of making whiskey and moonshine that stands the test of time. Our award-winning recipes, quality distillation methods, and commitment to customer satisfaction will ensure that you’ll become a loyal Palmetto Distillery customer no matter what you choose. Sip on a glass of whiskey or moonshine today…..your choice! Visit www.palmettodistillery.com for more information.