April 10, 2016

"When are moonshiners in the hills and hollows of Kentucky and the Carolinas going to get some love from The New Yorker? Hint – not in a very long time."

Said Comanche Voter in comments on the post about the New Yorker article about making Mezcal in Oaxaca. That sounded too knee-jerkily cynical, so I did a search of the New Yorker archive, and I found a few things. The best was "Moonshine" from August 19, 1985 (click to enlarge):



There was also "Moonshine Kingdom" from August 27, 2012:

As a boy, during summer visits to his grandfather’s house in southwest Virginia, Matt Bondurant was drawn to the rusty object that hung beneath the gun rack: a set of brass knuckles. He’d stand on a chair to touch them, imagining how it would be—If you are still alive when I run out of bullets, I will pull this hunk of metal off the wall and pummel you into unconsciousness—but never daring to slip them on. “They scared me,” Bondurant said recently, over a glass of corn whiskey at a Manhattan restaurant called the Tipsy Parson. “My grandfather was the kind of guy you didn’t mess with.”

The Bondurants were ornery giants; Matt, who is six feet two, was picked on by his cousins as the runt. Though Bondurant’s father had moved away from hardscrabble Franklin County and Bondurant grew up “citified,” as he puts it, he was fascinated by the knobby roots of the family tree, and in 2008 he published a historical novel, “The Wettest County in the World.” It is the Depression-era tale of how the Bondurant Boys—Bondurant’s grandfather, Andrew Jackson Bondurant, known as Jack, and Jack’s older brothers Forrest and Howard—ran moonshine and beat the bejeezus out of everyone with those brass knuckles....
And I know this doesn't count but "Kings County Distillery" from July 6 & 13, 2015:
Outside, one recent afternoon, Hank Williams, on the stereo, lamented, “My bucket’s got a hole in it / I can’t buy no beer” as people at picnic tables sampled honey moonshine (flavored with honeycombs from the Brooklyn Grange’s apiaries) and bitter chocolate whiskey (infused with Mast Brothers’ cacao husks). The sun had set on what the Times dubbed the “golden era for the bold and buoyant brigands” with their “mountain dew,” but it still shone upon those playing corn hole and sipping mercifully legal Manhattans.

23 comments:

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Shouldn't that be hills and hollers? I don't think I ever heard hollows used in that part of the country. Anybody have a link to the Oxford English Dictionary?

The Cracker Emcee said...

Is that a review of Alec Wilkinson's book, Althouse? A great and fascinating piece of Americana if you haven't read it yet.

Ann Althouse said...

It's a very long article BY Wilkinson, so I am guessing that the article became a book.

BDNYC said...

Mast Brothers, eh?

buwaya puti said...

Meh.
Everyplace has its hooch.
In my land we have lambanog (coconut sap), basi (sugarcane juice, but different process from rum-making), and several more.
Some people have tried to up-market white lightning, I see several brands in local liquor stores.

dwick said...

New Yorker values...

Hagar said...

Rusty brass knuckles?
New Yorker values indeed.

Jason said...

I don't always sing during my gigs.

But when I do, it's Steve Earle's "Copperhead Road."

PB said...

They need to start referring to themselves as "craft distillers". Then they'll get some liberal respect.

Jason said...

The New York Times writes up Popcorn Sutton whiskey.

They are still overtly hostile to the Whiskey Rebellion, though.

Jason said...

Oops. Forgot the URL...

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/21/us/popcorn-suttons-whiskey-once-moonshine-is-now-legal.html?_r=0

mikee said...

May I suggest as an addition to the states, with distilleries, hated by the NY Times?
Texas makes some mighty fine distilled liquors, tequila, vodka, bourbon, gin, whiskey.
Of course, it started in the liberal enclave of Austin, so perhaps the NY Times could learn to love them some Tito's or Deep Eddy's Lemon.

Birkel said...

Bootleggers and Baptists?

FullMoon said...

Hagar said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Rusty brass knuckles?
New Yorker values indeed.


Run some water over that "rust". Gonna be blood red.

buwaya puti said...

Good idea to avoid anything pushed in the press, or is trendy.
Find something that few are doing.
Anti-fashion is the true rebellion. Fashion is evil, it must be fought, in all its forms, in every way.
Which is why I have switched to Nescafe instant coffee.
Much cheaper and quicker, just as much caffeine, the opposite of hip and its made by a particularly hated outfit, Nestle.

Wilbur said...

Much quicker and still inexpensive, is a caffiene pill - No-Doz or its store-brand brother - instead of coffee in the morning.

It works for me. And it doesn't stain your teeth. Very opposite of hip, as well.

Comanche Voter said...

Full Moon has it right. Brass doesn't "rust". It tarnishes, but it doesn't rust. But then yer average New Yorker writer can't tell a slingshot from an assault rifle.

As for snakes and such falling into that good Kentucky 'shine. Adds to the flavor quite a bit. Down in the interior of Baja California, when your weekend beach party runs out of beer (ask me how I know) someone will go out and buy some mescal from the locals. It's only good if it has the worm in the bottle. But when you see the mescal bottle, you know you're going to have to quiet down and get ready for a long and sober drive home.

And Ms. Althouse I may have been too cynical. I'm glad that you searched the New Yorker archives (there are some things Comanche Voter just can't do) and found some earlier New Yorker articles about the amusing rituals of primitives who live beyond the Hudson.

Rusty said...

It isn't bourbon until it's been aged in a barrel. Until then it's just shine. Good 90 proof shine is smooth and a gentle as water with just a little alcohol bite. 100 proof. That's a different story.

Peter said...

Well, it's always best not to drink moonshine made in a still that used an old car radiator as the condenser.

Steve Ducharme said...

I knew I was doomed when the hipsters started drinking my Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Awful tasting stuff which keeps me from drinking more than a few. But these kids have convinced themselves that it's tasty AND ironic. SMH.

Steve Leer said...

Brass doesn't rust. Apparently the writer is not 'citified' but extremely citified. What other mistakes has he made in his ignorance?

John said...

I think Popcorn Sutton himself had the best rejoinder to The New Yorker as seen in his footstone.

http://storage.torontosun.com/v1/blogs-prod-photos/2/9/2/b/9/292b9c34cae0333a8d188cc3bd990192.jpg?stmp=1339867723

Padraig said...

And how many of the boys sing about the Rare Ould Mountain Dew in St Pat's, so?