Southern in the City

Moonshine Over Manhattan

By Jessica MischnerSeptember 8, 2010

Absinthe is so 2009. These days, White Dog, also known as unaged corn whiskey or moonshine, is the beverage of the moment. Of course moonshine can be a little intimidating, both for the uninitiated and for anyone who’s ever taken a burning gulp straight from a mason jar (I’m speaking hypothetically, of course). Fortunately Kings County Distillery, founded by Kentucky native Colin Spoelman and partner David Haskell (a North Carolinian by way of New York City and Connecticut), specializes in a smoother, more palate-friendly version.

The first whiskey distillery to open in New York City since Prohibition, Kings County became fully licensed and operational in April of 2010 and now produces corn and bourbon whiskey in their 325-square foot Williamsburg facility. Currently, the boutique brewhouse only offers double pot-distilled moonshine, made from organic corn from the Finger Lakes region mixed with a little malted Scottish barley. (By early 2011, small batches of bourbon will be aged and ready for distribution as well.) For now, you can buy 200 ml flasks of Kings County moonshine at Park Avenue Liquor Shop and Astor Wines & Spirits in Manhattan (the latter will also ship to other states), and at a handful of spirits shops in Brooklyn, including Dry Dock Wine & Spirits in Red Hook, which will be hosting a tasting on October 2.

To sample Kings County’s and other varieties of microdistilled moonshine in smaller quantities, check out local eateries and watering holes like Fette Sau, Fort Defiance, and Char No. 4 (no surprise that these are all Southern-skewed establishments). Or try it at home like Spoelman and Haskell suggest: mixed with bitters or a splash of grapefruit juice.