With its long and rich history in our region, we East Tennesseans love our moonshine. Coupled with its delicious taste, it is something our state is known for and takes pride in. However — like anything deep in tradition — no matter how much we think we know about moonshine, it has plenty of secrets. Here are a few little-known facts about the beloved spirit:
1. The Meaning Behind Those Three X’s
Ever seen one of those cartoons of Appalachian folk holding big jugs marked “XXX”? Those three X’s became an iconic symbol of moonshine — if a jug had that special marking, you knew what was in it. But what is the meaning behind it? Simply put, the X marking indicated how many times that particular batch of moonshine was distilled. Three X’s meant that the moonshine had been run through the still three times, making it the closest you could get to pure alcohol. XXX = the really good stuff.
2. The Reason for the Mason Jar
For people new to moonshine, they might see the classic mason jar as quite difficult to manage, especially when trying to pour it into a glass. However, there’s a reason modern moonshine distillers have stuck to the age-old jar — tradition. In the south, everything is canned, from fruit preserves to green beans to alcohol. It’s simply part of our culture. Also, there’s the tradition of “passing the jar” to friends — and mason jars are easily resealable and easy to pass around. The mason jar is a unique part of moonshine the that pays homage to our southern roots.
3. It’s Smoother Than You Might Think
Moonshine has the reputation of “burning” and being hard to swallow. Maybe it’s the high alcohol content. But interestingly, most modern moonshine from distilleries are bottled at 100 proof, which can be lower than many popular liquors like whiskey, vodka, and gin. Also, although moonshine is famously clear, it comes in many different flavors like strawberry, peach, apple pie, and salted caramel. Check out our spirits page to see the rest of our wide variety of Dumplin Creek Moonshine flavors (as well as our whiskeys, vodkas, gins, rums, and more) that can all be sampled for free at our distillery in Kodak, Tennessee! Come and see us to find out just how special moonshine is to us here in the south — you might learn a thing or two!