By Richard Thomas
“Apple Pie” is one of those classic concoctions meant to make moonshine more palatable to all comers, and less of an acquired taste. The idea is simple. You use apple juice or cider (cider is best) and pie spices, especially cinnamon, to both cut down and flavor your liquor. Some people like it warmed, as a wintertime treat. I prefer mine over ice, for dog days drinking.
Black Button in Rochester, New York has taken their corn whiskey and made some Apple Pie with it. They’ve gone about it the right way, too, using cider. The result is a 40 proof (20% ABV) drink that ought to come down to the level of strong wine after some ice has melted its way in.
As befits the name, the drink has a golden, apple juice-like appearance in the glass. The nose, however, is pretty husky, leaning hard into the grassy side of corn whiskey. The spices and cider make almost no appearance, and that is pretty misleading given what comes next: a mellow, easy drinking experience of what is essentially boozy, liquified apple pie or cobbler filling.
This stuff is simple, straight forward, and very enjoyable. If you’ve had some exposure to flavored moonshine, and the thought makes you go “Bleagh!” (and I understand, because I’ve had those too), understand that this isn’t that stuff. The corn whiskey side is there in the nose, but barely at all in the flavor. It’s exactly the sort of thing I might serve on ice to people without telling them what it is, just to help them get over any prejudices that might be there.
For a micro-distillery flavored moonshine, the price point is actually pretty reasonable: $22.