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Cheers! It tastes like drinking an apple pie

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen thinks the apple pie moonshine tastes like drinking an apple pie.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan
Measuring the moonshine for the "Cheers to Michigan" drink.

It’s fall and there’s a hint of it in the air.

“It’s definitely getting into the season where I like to think about fall flavors in my cocktails,” said Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings.

Among the bottles in front of her was one of moonshine.

"This is from Wise Men Distillery. They're just outside Grand Rapids and they make a variety of different products. What I'm using today is their Apple Pie Moonshine. It starts off with a base of their corn with a little bit of barley moonshine. That basically means it’s an unaged whiskey. Then they steep it with a whole bunch of spices and then some Michigan apple juice concentrate,” Tammy explained, adding, “To me it tastes like drinking an apple pie.”

Every year it seems as though there are more apple, cinnamon apple, and apple pie spirits on the grocer and liquor store shelves. It’s starting to be a lot like the trend of everything pumpkin spice in the fall. The question is whether those spirits are going to the same trouble of using real spices and apple juice.

Tammy says there’s a lot of variability in the market.  

“Some things, especially the apple whiskeys, are really just using flavoring and can to me have kind of an artificial taste. That’s not really something I want my glass. Then other people are taking more of an artisan approach. So, it's really kind of a buyer beware issue,” Tammy said.

She used the Apple Pie Moonshine in a drink based on the whiskey sour template.

“Our base spirit here is an ounce and a half of vodka. I also used the Wise Men distillery vodka. Then it's got three quarters of an ounce of their Apple Pie Moonshine and just half an ounce of lemon juice. Shake it up with ice. Strain it into a glass.

My experience with apple pie-like tasting is limited to a guy I knew who made it every Halloween. It was tasty, but a bit too sweet for my taste. It was popular and it was potent.

The Apple Pie of My Eye has more citrus notes than what I’d tasted in the past. It's not as cloyingly sweet as that drink was. To me, this mixture is more drinkable.

“I will say that that moonshine on its own is quite cloyingly sweet. It’s great for drizzling over ice cream or if you're a person who likes sweet drinks, sipping on it on its own over some ice would be great,” Tammy said, adding, “To me on its own it's a little too sweet, but that's why I really like it in this sour application called the flavor comes out without so much of the sweetness.”

Apple Pie of my Eye

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
The ingredients of Apple Pie of My Eye.

1 1/2 oz vodka (Wise Men)
3/4 oz Wise Men Distillery apple pie moonshine
1/2 oz lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into
cocktail glass.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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