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Howling At The Moonshine

Howling at the Moonshine

The Background

Shine, rotgut, white lightning, hooch, mountain dew, firewater, popskull, sugar whiskey, bush whiskey, sweet spirits of cats a-fighting, happy Sally, blue John, jump steady, corn squeezing, or ruckus juice. America’s most infamous liquor has many names, but most folks just call it moonshine. The term originates from the way it was distilled in secret during the night using the moon light.


The basic ingredients for moonshine are quite simple: corn meal, sugar, yeast, water. What primarily differentiates it from whiskey is aging. When whiskey comes out of the still, it’s just as clear as moonshine, but whereas shine is sold as is, whiskey is aged for several years in charred oak barrels which give it its amber color and mellows the taste. Moonshine undergoes no such mellowing which is why it has such a notorious kick.

Moonshiners produced the alcohol while bootleggers transported it. During the 1930’s through the 1950’s bootleggers were loading up cars packed with shine and outrunning the law to make deliveries. They got so good at souping up their vehicles that their legendary races created a culture of car lovers that eventually grew into the NASCAR racing series. In fact, the winner of the first ever NASCAR race had used the same car to make a bootleg run just a week earlier.


Moonshine, defined as illegally made and untaxed liquor, represent the process of making high-proof spirits and is now (typically) done by commercial distilleries that often use centuries old family recipes.

So, is it still moonshine even if it’s made legally? Some would say no, but others would say who cares! Real or not, it is really good! Check out our list of moonshine brands you can find at Spec’s and figure out which one is your favorite!

Top ‘Shine Brands at Spec’s

Tim Smith, star of the Discovery Channel show “Moonshiners”, now legally sells his shine under the label Tim Smith’s Climax Moonshine. Corn, rye, and barley malt make up this moonshine.

Junior Johnson, a former NASCAR driver, partnered with Piedmont Distillers to create Midnight Moon which is inspired by Johnson’s family recipe.

Not only does Firefly Moonshine lay claim to the first and largest moonshine distillery in South Carolina, but they also have a shine flavor for almost every occasion.

Catdaddy Spiced Moonshine is a flavorful version of authentic shine and works wonderfully as a spiced shooter or cocktail ingredient.

Bottled in classic mason jars, Old Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Peaches is made by longtime Maker’s Mark distiller Dave Pickerell.

Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey is made from the legendary moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton’s own recipe.

Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1 is a strong shine made of corn, rye, and malted barley with a sweet aroma and slight burn. Unlike bourbon, this mash exhibits a clear coloring.

Furthermore, you don’t need to be one of them Duke boys to get your hands on some quality shine, just come see us at Spec’s and we’ll have you feeling fine in no time!


Owned and operated by the same Houston family since 1962, Spec’s is a true destination shopping experience. We now operate over 150 stores all over the great state of Texas and offer a large selection of wines, spirits and finer foods.

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