Sounds good, right? And it is. This was yet another gift from our recent Hoegarden weekend. I had bookmarked a recipe for Apple Pie Moonshine months ago with the hope of trying it some day. When we picked our ‘Lowdown Hoedown’ theme for this year’s shenanigans, it seemed like perfect timing so I fired off an e-mail to my Big Sis with the short & simple message “We should totally make this for Hoegarden!”
One of the many things I love about having four sisters is that we never have to twist arms to get someone to participate in things like this. Big Sis was all in. She agreed to source some vintage jars from Mom’s barn and take on the role of Head Moonshiner. I would act as Chief Brainstormer, equal financial partner and creative director (which put me in charge of packaging & tags).
Somewhere our relatives are nodding and saying “See, Hank… I told you they were hillbillies.”
This recipe made a lot of hooch – 7 quarts in all. Big Sis packaged it into Mason jars and I whipped up some cute tags in honor of our theme. Every good hillbilly knows the only appropriate wrapping for a jar of hooch is a brown paper bag, so we went there because our Momma taught us not to half-ass anything. Here’s how the finished jars turned out.
This is not your typical moonshine that doubles as paint stripper. First of all, it’s not nearly as strong as traditional moonshine. Because of the cider and fruit juice, this version is slightly sweet, incredibly smooth and resembles spiked apple cider much more than paint solvent. And it is good. Really, really good.
Big Sis’s “Make Ya’ Holler” Apple Pie Moonshine
1 gallon of spiced apple cider
1 gallon of apple juice
8-10 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 large bottle (750ml) of good vodka*
7 quart-size Mason jars with new lids
In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients EXCEPT for the vodka. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a boil. Shut off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely. Once cooled to room temperature, stir in the vodka and ladle it into sterilized canning jars. Drop one of those used cinnamon sticks into each jar, wipe the rim of the jar with a clean damp cloth and top with a sterile canning lid & ring.
Caution: Big Sis says this stuff will knock your head off if you try it right away, and no one wants that. Instead, seal it up and let it sit for 3-4 weeks to mellow. You’ll be glad you did. When we cracked that first quart at Hoegarden, you could sip it straight from the jar it was so smooth. I think Big Sis could have a brilliant future as a moonshiner if she wanted.
Apple Pie Moonshine can be served hot or cold, as a mixer or straight up. Since it was chilly for Hoegarden and Sister #4 built a glorious fire in the fire pit, we chose to add a quart of it to a half-gallon of apple cider and serve it hot like a toddy. And it rocked that toddy. If it had been sweltering, I could picture this stirred into a pitcher of freshly brewed iced tea with fresh sliced apples. Yum.
Disclosure: Full credit for this recipe goes to Mallory Jane of Hayseed Homemakin’ blog. Mallory Jane makes hers with *everclear* (pure grain alcohol at 190 proof), which can be really expensive and hard to find. We substituted a good quality vodka, which worked really well and significantly lowered the alcohol content (to 80 proof). To see the Hayseed Homemakin’ version, click rat-cheer. Thank you, Mallory Jane, for sharing your recipe and putting the hooch in our hoedown.