Skip to main content

Midnight Moon is so good it used to be illegal

midnight moon, moonshine, alcohol, liquor
Even though Johnson family hooch isn’t made in copper stills out in the woods any more, the recipe lives on in the (now legally distributed) Midnight Moon. The family took a huge risk bootlegging corn alcohol before, during, and after prohibition, and the decades of hard work and fast driving paid off in the form of one of the most recognizable moonshine brands in the country.

Related: Spirit Education at Moonshine University

Related Videos

Junior Johnson’s legacy extends far beyond crafting some of the finest corn whiskey around, though. A big part of distilling moonshine is transporting and selling it, or bootlegging, a role that Junior took over for his family when he was 14. Junior was never caught while driving, and only spent 11 months of a two-year sentence in prison when he was caught lighting a still the police had staked out in May of 1956.

Bootleg drivers in the ’40s became the pioneers of professional racing, and Junior Johnson was well known in the early NASCAR movement.  A creative and daring racer, Junior is also credited with creating the bootleg turn, a sharp 180-degree turn designed to lose police cars in a chase. Despite his car driving 22 miles per hour slower than the fastest cars in the race, Junior won the 1960 Daytona 500, one of the first documented uses of drafting in racing.

Despite multiple distilleries making offers on the Johnson family recipe, Junior partnered with Piedmont Distillers in 2007 to bring his historic moonshine to life once again — this time legally. Midnight Moon is now distilled in small batches in North Carolina, where Junior Johnson can still get involved from time to time.

Midnight Moon Applepie, moonshine, liquor

Midnight Moon is available in its classic clear form, or in one of six infused flavors: blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, and strawberry, all of which are made with the real fruit included in the jar. The apple pie flavor, for instance, is made with real apple juice and includes a stick of cinnamon inside for an added kick.

The infused flavors are hand-packed with real fruit to impart flavor and color, without making the moonshine overly sweet. The fruit is preserved in the alcohol, making it safe to eat even for years after the jar has been opened, even if Midnight Moon recommends against it. Since the fruit absorbs the alcohol as well as imparting its flavors into the jar, it’s important to remember to “respect the fruit” and think carefully before you start snacking on those blueberries, as tasty as they are.

Strawberry blueberry jars with fruit, midnight moon, moonshine, liquor

The strawberry infused Midnight Moon has a quiet sweetness to it, but it doesn’t distract from the huge taste of real fruit. The vibrant red and pink spirit goes down deceptively smooth, considering that the infused varieties are bottled at 100 proof. Serving it chilled brings out the fruit flavors and corn sweetness even more, but it’s great in a glass of lemonade, too.

By the time the jar hits the shelves, the blueberry infused Midnight Moon has turned the clear liquid a deep, opaque purple. The mass of blueberries at the bottom of the jar can only be seen by tilting the glass so their dark lines can be seen moving around. The result is a drink that’s smooth and just a little tart, with the corn alcohol coming a bit more to the front than in the strawberry and apple pie infusions.

Midnight Moon Apple pie Overhead, midnight moon, moonshine, liquor

The apple pie flavor is a bit different than the other infused flavors. Rather than dropping a pile of fruit into the bottom, the classic Midnight Moon is mixed with real apple juice and cinnamon. The result is a cocktail in a jar, and while Midnight Moon offers up a number of simple recipes to go along with each flavor, the apple pie is sweet, warm, and tastes great on the rocks or with a splash of ginger ale.

The Midnight Moon website has great recipes for all of their infused moonshines, as well as a handy “find the shine” tool so you can taste it for yourself.

Editors' Recommendations

Feeling adventurous? 5 of the weirdest cocktails from around the globe
Would you order a cocktail with a pickled human toe? You can in Canada, apparently
unusual and unique cocktails sourtoe cocktail

We all love a good cocktail, but it's easy to tire of the classics. There's nothing wrong with a perfectly frosty, salted-rimmed margarita, or a warm-to-your-bones, cherry-topped old-fashioned, but sometimes, you just want something new. Something that makes you think. Something that, perhaps, gives you a chuckle. These are those cocktails.
Pig's Blood Piña Colada (USA)

Back in 2014, bartender Jason Brown of Chicago's Kinmont restaurant and bar, concocted this cocktail after listening to a Werewolves of London lyric about a werewolf drinking a pina colada. His creativity sparked, and the "Werewolves of London" cocktail was born.

Read more
The 8 best protein shakes that are ready-to-go
These shakes come with all the good stuff, and none of the crap

With as busy as we have become as a society, we always seem to be on the go. This can make life challenging, especially when it comes to wellness goals. In a perfect world, you could hit the gym hard, crush a workout, then immediately refuel with a balanced, home-cooked meal. But, since life happens and we are always on the go, it’s not always feasible to take the time to actually cook up a muscle-building meal right after your workout. Whether you’re on the go and short on time, or just can't stomach a full meal after exercising, having a quick and easy, protein-packed option that doesn’t require kitchen time, is a helpful alternative to refuel your body and maximize your results.

This is where protein shakes come in handy. Numerous ready-to-drink shakes are available that provide muscle-building protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories to fortify your body after a workout. They offer the benefits of protein powders with the convenience of eliminating the need for a shaker bottle, or high-speed blender, let alone making a mess with powders. Simply give the bottle a quick shake, pop the top, and you’re good to go.

Read more
The 7 best CBD-infused drinks we tried in 2023
These tasty CBD-infused drinks will have you feeling calmer in no time
Cans o RisEau cbd drinks.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been hot for a while now, making its way into everything from CBD teas to a variety of CBD coffee brands. If you're wondering "what is CBD?" — it's a naturally occurring compound present in cannabis plants. According to the World Health Organization, it's not addictive, has a solid safety profile, and won't get you high. In clinical trials, it's been effective in the treatment of epilepsy and shows promise in treating a number of other conditions.

In addition to CBD-infused water, tea, soda, and seltzer, another growing trend is CBD-infused nonalcoholic spirits and cocktails. The adult beverage market is flooded with CBD products promising to help you relax, sleep, destress, and mellow out, all without the hangover you'd get from booze (CBD is considered a controlled substance and can't be legally added to booze, at least not yet). We've rounded up a few of our favorite CBD-infused drinks below, from CBD cocktails to CBD water, so you can work your relaxation into your daily routine no matter where you are.

Read more