You’ve probably heard about moonshine, but do you really know what it is? Do you know what characteristics actually make it moonshine? Moonshine has a rich history and can be defined as different things to different people. At its basis, moonshine is a high-proof distilled spirit that was usually produced illegally or without government authorization.

Historically the term “moonshine” was referring to a “clear, un-aged whiskey” and its origins are from Scotland and Ireland. Over time, as it made its way to the United States, its name was in reference to the fact that it was primarily made and transported under the moonlight. During Prohibition, moonshine gained popularity as bootleggers produced distilled spirits illegally. Moonshine purists will say that it can only be made using corn mash. However, moonshine can be made with a wide variety of ingredients – including rye.

Iowa Legendary Distillery has a rich history dating back to Prohibition. Grandma Lorine Sextro operated during a time when the production and sale of alcohol were illegal. This led to a more innovative and low key operation for the production of her delicious rye. By definition, Iowa Legendary’s White Label Rye and Blue Label Vodka are moonshines. They are produced today the same way they were back when Grandma Sextro was making them.

June 5th is National Moonshine Day and we are celebrating! Moonshine blurs the lines of history and the law. It has been said to ‘turn common people into common criminals and then common criminals into legends”. Here at Iowa Legendary Distillery, we are all about the constant goal to #BeLegendary. Grandma Lorine Sextro is a legend in her community and her recipe lives on in any one of our bottles. 

During Prohibition, moonshine could range anywhere from 63 proof to 190 proof. At Iowa Legendary Distillery, we use the original recipe and procedure that Grandma Lorine Sextro used during prohibition. Down to the aspect of distilling in truly small batches using the small barrels that could be easily picked up and run with.

In today’s society, moonshine has taken on a life of its own. Its resurgence in popularity is very apparent in the mixology community. Mixologist’s have re-engineered moonshine in a groundbreaking way. This has allowed for moonshine to bring an element of flavor and rich history into high-end cocktails and bold recipes across the nation. Traditionally, moonshine brings to mind an alcohol content that is too high and generally unmanageable in a casual drinking setting. This is rapidly changing and it has been featured in combinations where the moonshine adds an unexpected yet complementary element to the cocktail recipes.

 Iowa Legendary Rye has a unique flavor of its own and since its original recipe can also be classified as a moonshine, you get the best of both worlds. Mixologists are creating bold and delicious recipes for every occasion using our ryes. Join the moonshine movement – grab a bottle of your own here and give it a try!