White lightning. Hooch. Branch water. Or ol’ fashioned moonshine. Whatever you call it, there’s no denying it’s making a comeback. Take a peek at your local liquor store’s whiskey aisle if you don’t believe us. And if you find yourself at some trendy bar sipping on clear whiskey with an extra kick, impress your drinking buddies with these moonshine talking points. Just don’t expect anyone to remember what the hell you said in the morning.

Also: 6 moonshine brands you should taste


Moonshine is a generic term for any illegally distilled liquor. Most often it refers to grain-based spirits like whiskey, or sometimes to sugar-based spirits like rum. The reason it’s clear is because it’s not given time to age in casks, because nobody knows when the fuzz might roll in with their straws,er guns and confiscate the goods. Another reason — it's a good idea to keep illicit goods on the move to avoid detection. The aging process allows store-bought, legal whiskeys to absorb flavor from the wood, and also lets it mellow out some. Since moonshine isn’t allowed to age, it tastes a whole lot more like pure alcohol and has a definitive kick that even big, bad Jack Daniels can’t match.

7 Things You Didn't Know About Moonshine unhealthy


Not if it's made by someone who knows what he’s doing. But it can also be highly detrimental to your health. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a harmful chemical that is a byproduct of any distillation process. Most distillers release it from their batch before bottling. This is called a foreshot. However some unscrupulous distillers, or in the common parlance — raging fucking assholes — actually add in the poison to make their moonshine more potent, as methanol has a similar initial effect on the body as regular old ethanol, the active ingredient in booze. If you get drunk on methanol-laced hooch, watch out. Even in tiny amounts, methanol will give you a hangover to remember. In larger doses, it can attack the ocular nerves leaving you literally blind drunk. An important note: The buzz eventually wears off, but the blindness doesn’t. In fact, enough methanol can actually kill you. In one 2011 incident, 168 people died in India after drinking contaminated booze. So, yeah, make sure you choose your distillery wisely.

See the other 5 reasons at ModernMan.com.