By Erin L. Cox
Let me start by writing a disclaimer. Please drink responsibly…and preferably with a mixologist on-hand! That’s what I did Sunday night at The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Event, “Chasing the White Dog in Manhattan: The History of Moonshine with the Legendary Junior Johnson and the Craft Distilling of Today.”
My friends and mixologists Paul Zablocki and Steve Schul, founders of Cocktail Buzz, invited me to an event where one of their signature cocktails, “The Kitty Carlisle,” would be featured. With CatDaddy Moonshine as one of the four ingredients in this drink, it seemed only right!
Aside from the drinking, the discussion focused on moonshine then and now, featuring Max Watman, author of Chasing the White Dog, Joe Michalek, founder of Piedmont Distillers, and the legendary moonshiner turned race-car driver, Junior Johnson. Watman and Michalek had a great time asking Junior Johnson about his wild days outrunning the cops while making liquor runs and we all got a sample of Junior’s father’s recipe, which is now being made by Piedmont Distillers in addition to their delicious CatDaddy Moonshine.
Moonshine has an infamous history in the United States…somewhat akin to that of absinthe in Europe. If you have any interest in learning more, there are many books on the subject–both fiction and non–but two, other than Watman’s, that stand out are Matt Bondurant’s The Wettest County in the World and Burkhard Bilger’s Noodling for Flatheads.
Whatever you do, go out and mix up a Kitty Carlisle for yourself. It’s delicious!