Tuesday Night Quiz! 5 Things you Might Not Have Known About Moonshine

Tuesday Night Quiz! 5 Things you Might Not Have Known About Moonshine

 Much has been said and written about the US period of Prohibition. Some of it true, some of it false, and some that you might just find downright surprising. So now we're taking a closer look at some of the facts, fictions and stranger than fiction tales from this much mythologised time.

Moonshine Liqueur is ‘Illegal Alcohol”? 

Not necessarily!

Historically, this was certainly the case with alcohol being made illicitly, or by the light of ‘moonshine’, to avoid laws, taxes, and regulations - hence Moonshine coming to prominence in the USA during the prohibition era. However, while the term ‘moonshine’ can still be used to describe illegally produced or distributed alcohol, Moonshine has now taken on a new definition among distillers. As there is no fixed definition for Moonshine, according to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), distillers have total freedom when it comes to creating ‘Moonshine Spirits’. Moonshine can be made from any source material, can have whatever colouring or flavours added, and Moonshine can be any alcoholic proof. It is still an outlier and nonconformist in the world of drinks and spirits but for very different reasons than the one that brought it to prominence. 


Bootlegger Gang

What was the reason for the XXX on traditional jars and bottles of Moonshine?

The Xs seen in movies or cartoons on the sides of moonshine bottles were traditionally used as an indicator of the quality of the drink. Prior to modern distillation techniques, moonshiners had to distil their product several times to get a higher, purer alcohol content (it was not uncommon for traditional Moonshine to reach as high as 80% ABV). XXX on the side of a jar would denote that the spirit within had been triple distilled. In a nod to our heritage and as part of our commitment to producing the highest quality liqueurs, all the moonshines produced here at O'Donnell are also triple distilled. 


In what year was prohibition ended throughout the whole of the USA? 

1966! Amendment Twenty-one to the Constitution was ratified on December 5, 1933. It repealed the previous Eighteenth Amendment which had established a nationwide ban on the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol.However, while the amendment lifted the nationwide ban, Section 2 ultimately left individual states in charge of their own regulation of the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol. This was to account for certain states that were more in favour of the prohibition laws. Ultimately, Mississippi was the last state to lift all its Prohibition-era laws in 1966.


Which state was the first to introduce prohibition laws - bonus points if you can get the year too?! 

Maine passed the first state prohibition law in 1846, and the Prohibition Party was established in 1869, over 50 years before amendment 18 was passed bringing about nationwide prohibition across the USA! 


To whom did ‘the man in the green hat’ supply moonshine during prohibition?

To members of the US Government!  Members of Congress who wanted alcohol during Prohibition could turn to Capitol Hill’s top bootlegger, George L. Cassiday. Cassiday walked through the halls of Congress making up to 25 deliveries of illegal booze a day while Capitol Police allowed him in at all hours. Over five years he supplied bottles of whiskey, moonshine, Scotch, bourbon and gin from a sturdy leather briefcase. Eventually, he was arrested and sentenced to 1 year in jail for his crimes. Cassiday later wrote that he helped 80 percent of Congress violate Prohibition laws.


 prohibition rally

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