Mar 10, 2013 - Alcohol, Drinks    Comments Off on Making Moonshine? An Adventure In Alcohol

Making Moonshine? An Adventure In Alcohol

I am not a person that drinks a lot, mostly because I’m rather new to drinking. I can’t hold my alcohol, and it takes maybe half of a drink for me to get that nice relaxed feeling.

Apple Pie Moonshine

Recently my coworker saw one of the Moonshiners shows, and on there they made an apple pie moonshine.

He was instantly obsessed.

Apple Juice and Everclear

He talked about it for weeks after I told him I had a recipe to make it, but since he’s a bit afraid of cooking and doing it wrong, we decided to go in 50/50. He found the alcohol and jars, while I took care of making it taste good. It took him a while to get around to buying the alcohol, plus it took a little work to find a place that carries 190 proof Everclear.

Yes you read that right, 190 proof. Do you know how strong that is? That’s 95% alcohol!


I’ve heard moonshine is REALLY strong and I’m assuming it doesn’t taste that good alone (though secretly I would LOVE to make moonshine just to say I did) but this apple pie stuff sounded rather intriguing. I’m not sure if moonshine and Everclear smell/taste the same, but it is NASTY on its own. It’s like rubbing alcohol.


Since I’m a bit of a food snob, I really didn’t want to use normal apple juice that is almost clear and usually made from concentrate. I went to Trader Joes for their yummy unfiltered apple juice. The recipe calls for half apple cider and half apple juice, but since I couldn’t find cider (I think it’s seasonal) I just used two bottles of juice and made my own cider from one of them.

Simmering Cinnamon Sticks

I simmered one bottle of apple juice with some ground cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and 8 cinnamon sticks. I love my apple pie to be rather strong in the cinnamon flavor so I used more than the recipe calls for.

Me? Follow a recipe? Ha!

After I let it simmer covered for about 30 minutes, I tested the flavor and adjusted as needed to get a nice strong cider flavor. Then I added the second bottle of apple juice and brown sugar, and let it just simmer covered on low for about 20 minutes. Once I decided it tasted enough like apple pie, I turned off the heat and just let it sit for an hour or two to make sure it was nice and cooled before adding the alcohol. Everclear has a much lower boiling point (172 F) so I wanted to make sure it was room temperature before adding it.

Filtering Moonshine

Because I used ground spices, and I didn’t want them to cloud up the finished product, I decided to strain the mixture with some cheese cloth. I was really surprised at how much it filtered out, but the mix still tasted great. Just to make sure it was going to be as clear as it would be, I filtered it a second time back into the big pot and added the alcohol

Reserved Cinnamon Sticks

I saved the cinnamon sticks after the straining and decided to add them to the jars that the finished product would go in.

Cinnamon In Jars

It made 5 quarts that are now sitting in my pantry. Now comes the hard part.


Just as I finished putting the liquid into the jars, I took a little taste. Oh good grief it tastes nasty. The alcohol is SUPER strong tasting right now. Everything I’ve read about making home made liqueurs (which is technically what this is, even though I like referring to it as moonshine) says that the alcohol flavor will dissipate or lighten after a few weeks.

Apple Pie Moonshine

I literally just made this yesterday so it won’t be done until April 1st. I guess it’s rather appropriate that is when it should be ready. I’ll find out that day whether or not it was awesome, or I’m just a fool with some strong boozey nastiness.

I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out. (I opened it up and tried it out, check it out)

Apple Pie “Moonshine”
Makes roughly 5 quarts.


  • 1/2 gallon apple juice
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider (or make your own)
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar (I used light brown)
  • 4-8 cinnamon sticks (depends on your tastes)
  • 750ml bottle Everclear 190 proof.


  1. Simmer the juice, cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks for 20 minutes on low-ish covered.
  2. Let cool until it is very close to room temperature before adding the alcohol.
  3. Pour the mix into clean quart jars and add a cinnamon stick to each jar.
  4. Store in a cool and dry place for a few weeks (I’m waiting 3 weeks) before drinking.

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