Although the advice for staying warm when camping is to avoid over-consumption of alcohol, there’s something ever-so-tempting about a cheeky swig or three of something strong whilst sitting around the fire. The warming effect may not last long, but the enjoyment of a delicious tipple is usually well worth it. And what better drink to choose for your fireside frivolity than a cowboy classic of moonshine? No, I’m not talking about corn mash moonshine distilled illegally by the early US settlers. You have to be pretty desperate to go down that route. Aside from its foul taste, just a sniff of it will knock your socks off! I’m talking about the most delicious version you’ll ever get your hands on – apple pie moonshine!
It’s probably a good thing that the moonshiners back in the day didn’t come up with this highly sippable concoction of high strength alcohol and awesome autumnal apple pie flavours. It’s dangerously drinkable and not too far off the potency of the real deal. To make apple pie moonshine that is as similar to the original liquor as possible, you’ll need to get your hands on 190 proof (95%) alcohol – Everclear or grain alcohol. Now let’s be clear about Everclear, it is THE strongest alcohol in existence and as a result, is banned in many places. Dabbling with a near poisonous liquid is not for the faint hearted! So if you’re not able to get hold of it, or would rather not sip on poison for your evening, then there is an alternative. Vodka!
Most vodkas are between 80 and 120 proof (40-60%), although there are a number of higher strength vodkas available if you’re feeling brave (or masochistic!). But either way, it’s most certainly a better option than Everclear. But be warned – apple pie moonshine will destroy you if you use high proof alcohol. So it’s important that you heed this warning before you start glugging it like it’s gluhwein and find yourself crawling back to your tent after a night by the campfire.
Sensible old me has gone for an 80 proof (40%) vodka for this apple pie moonshine recipe. And although the results are not nearly as lethal as true moonshiners might prefer, it is still extremely quaffable all the same.
Apple Pie Moonshine
Apple pie moonshine can be enjoyed straight away, but is best left for a couple of weeks to really let those sweet apple pie flavours almost totally overpower any trace of alcohol in the taste.
Makes 6 litres
- 6 long cinnamon sticks
- 750ml bottle of vodka (I’ll leave the strength up to you!)
- 2 cups of spiced rum
- 4.5l (1 gallon) of apple cider
- 1l (1 quart) of apple juice
- 3 cups of brown sugar
- In a large pan or crock pot, mix together the cider, apple juice, cinnamon sticks and sugar.
- Place on the hob and slowly bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Take off the heat and leave to cool for a few hours.
- Once at room temperature, stir in the vodka and rum. It is important to wait until it is fully cooled before you do this, otherwise the heat can effect the alcohol content.
- Pour into 6 1 litre bottles or mason jars, drop a cinnamon stick in each and put the lids on.
I like to really harness its short term warming effects by enjoying it as a steamy hot toddy. Perfect on a cold night out in the wilderness.
Enjoy with caution, and if your first batch turns out a little on the tame side, then those 160 proof vodkas and 190 proof grain alcohols might be for you after all!