The term “moonshine” comes from the drink’s origins in Britain. “Moonshining” was any activity done under cover of darkness. Moonshiners brewed the alcohol and bootleggers smuggled it.
Technically, moonshine can be any strong alcoholic drink that’s made and sold illegally. It can be rum or a different liquor. How, then, is it legal to buy moonshine online or in stores today?
The key is that there is no federal requirement for labeling something as moonshine. Whiskey, for example, must legally be made from grain, bottled at a particular alcohol content, and aged in oak barrels in order to carry such a label. Moonshine has no restrictions. Unless you describe it as “white whiskey” on the label, you can legally make, sell, or order any alcohol labeled “moonshine” online or in-person.
Moonshine vs. Other Liquors
What makes moonshine different from other whiskeys or liquors you see on store shelves? When whiskey originally comes out of the still, it’s crystal clear, like water. It’s then put into oak barrels to age it, softening the flavor and giving it the characteristic amber color.
When you buy moonshine online, you’re buying alcohol that hasn’t gone through that aging process. It retains its clear appearance and signature “kick” that’s associated with the liquor.
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