MOUNTAIN SPIRITS by Joseph Earl Dabney


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A vastly entertaining and informative rundown on the illicit whiskey trade in the South. First off there's an invaluable glossary of terms for the distilling and distributing -- to help you know your ""Cap Arm"" from your ""Hole in the Fire."" Then there's a chapter on how to make the stuff -- the real stuff, that is -- the kind of pure corn likker produced by generations of craftsmen. Dabney then reviews the flow of moonshine, floods to trickles, from the product of the Scotch/Irish colonists for whom it was a ""dire necessity,"" through the violence of the Whiskey Rebellion (and the first revenue tax); the ""golden age"" before the Civil war and another tax; Prohibition, (which drove out the real thing in favor of quantity); to the present in which the illegal whiskey now produced by Mafia-type racketeers is inferior and downright dangerous. Dabney indudes a crop of good stories about famous moonshiners and their antics, the ""trippers"" (runners), bootleggers (the sellers) and some resourceful and respected T-men. He's done his research well, with none of that snickering which could have watered down the subject. In all, a 120 proof tribute to that sterling product the ingestion of which, said Irving S. Cobb, gave one ""the sensations of having swallowed a lighted kerosene lamp."" It's still illegal to make -- but you'll be tempted.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1974
Publisher: Scribners