Saturday, December 07, 2013

Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine by Max Watman

For my second book in the month of liquids, I chose something a little stronger than water. I thoroughly enjoyed most of Chasing the White Dog, except the court narrative at the end drags a little. The author weaves three story lines throughout: his own distilling experiences, the history of American booze, and the current state of the moonshine business.

Always willing to go the extra mile for full immersion in a subject, I purchased two bottles of legal "moonshine" to enhance my understanding of the book. Thus began a five-day bender; it's amazing I remember anything I read. My first choice was Buffalo Trace Distillery's White Dog Mash #1. Though I am no stranger to strong whiskey (such as cask-strength scotch), 125 proof is a bit much for my delicate palate. After the first glass, I was glad I had chosen a diminutive 375 ml bottle. Of course, I still had to finish it in the name of research.

Since the author spends time with NASCAR moonshine legend Junior Johnson, a bottle—actually a Mason jar*—of his Midnight Moon was a natural choice. I picked out Apple Pie, and damn, that is awesome stuff! My only quibble is that a jar doesn't work as well as a bottle. After a disastrous first pour that spilled more than a few precious drops on the floor, I decided instead to just take a nip whenever I walked past the liquor cabinet. I walked past the liquor cabinet pretty regularly until the jar was empty. If there is a drink that could make me an alcoholic, Midnight Moon Apple Pie is it.

* I can't see or hear of Mason jars without thinking of the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Legend of Wooley Swamp", a song I heard in heavy rotation on the radio at age ten. I've seen Mason jars in stores more often recently, so I'm not surprised to learn they are making a comeback (the jars, not the Charlie Daniels Band).

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