Most Americans have never had a sip of authentic moonshine. Distilled in backwoods of Appalachia and the American South since the 1800s, moonshine has for generations remained the illicit product of illegal enterprise. But changing social mores and the resurgence of American whiskeys has prompted many distillers here to begin marketing "new make" whiskeys, or what back in the day was referred to as "White Dog, White Lightning or moonshine."
Unflattering as those monikers are, white whiskeys are finding favor with enthusiasts and aficionados alike. When well made they're typically flavorful, exuberant and surprisingly refined, not at all like the breath-robbing firewater portrayed in the movies. No better example of this than Platte Valley Moonshine 100% Straight Corn Whiskey.
This all-American whiskey is bottled by the McCormick Distilling Company in Weston, Missouri. It was founded in 1856 as the Holladay Distillery and continued to produce whiskey under different names and owners even through Prohibition—medicinal whiskey, of course. The McCormick name was actually purchased from another distillery and persists through the modern era.
Platte Valley Moonshine is distilled in small batches from corn that is milled into grist, mixed with hot water, fermented and distilled. After the whiskey exits the still it is aged for 3 years and bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).
There's something to be said for whiskey so skillfully crafted that its a bona fide pleasure to drink without it first having to be locked away in oak barrels. Platte Valley is crystal clear with a satiny, medium-weight body that tastes and smells like freshly husked sweet corn. The nose and palate are semisweet with notes of butter and fresh pears. The finish is clean and crisp.
Introduced in 2015, Platte Valley FireShine is a 70-proof blend Platte Valley Moonshine and cinnamon liqueur—spicy, hot cinnamon. The flavor combination is nearly flawless. Regardless of whether it's served neat as shot or as an integral ingredient in a mixed drink or specialty cocktail, FireShine provides a blast of incandescent fun.
The whiskey has a yellow/golden appearance, a silky, lightweight body and the focused aroma of cinnamon with notes of semisweet grain. There's some heat on the nose, but not enough to raise concerns. In fact, FireShine is so skillfully balanced that every nuance can be appreciated. The heat and flavor of the moonshine are equally prominent. And unlike so many of the cinnamon-laced whiskeys on the market, FireShine won't scald the throat or rob you of your breath. It's like someone was looking out for our best interests.
"We were cool before moonshine became cool," said Vic Morrison, Vice President of Marketing for McCormick Distilling, producers of Platte Valley. "We've seen Platte Valley Moonshine duplicated, but never replicated, so today we raise a glass to longevity, authenticity, our loyal moonshine drinkers and new moonshine lovers everywhere."