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Drink Crush:

March 19, 2012

Mash Notes:  Legal Moonshine Hits Georgia!

American Spirit whiskey represents Southern ingenuity in a glass

By Nancy Staab

  • Photos by Evan Leavitt Photography

Two UGA grads bring “White Dog” back to Georgia for the first time since Pre-Prohibition days via their clear, un-aged American Spirit Whiskey

Speak-easy drinking bôites, flapper fashions and Pre-Prohibition and Prohibition-era cocktails are still hot amongst the hipster set. And in this same mode, tipplers can move over their bathtub gin for another, once scandalous and distinctly Southern sip: moonshine. Moonshine, aka “white dog” or “white lightning” is an-un-aged whiskey that was once house-made and sold illegally in Mason jars. Dusty Prohibition-era laws are only now being excised from state books, allowing for this clear whiskey spirit to make a comeback.

The American Spirit founders. The American Spirit founders.

Leave it to two University of Georgia grads-turned “licensed bootleggers), Charlie Thompson and Jim Chasteen to bring back this cult spirit, not in Mason jars but a sleek glass bottle with an artisan white dog pictured on the label. Their concoction, named American Spirit, has some of the taste of whiskey, but is not aged for long period in oaken barrels and instead distilled via a patented filtration system. The result is a versatile spirit with a lighter, cleaner, more mellow taste.

This smooth beverage can be sipped straight-up, on the rocks, or mixed in fancy cocktails. The small-batch American Spirit is distilled in Charleston but the company is based in Atlanta. Scads of local mixologists are taking a shine to it (pun intended) like Holeman and Finch, Canoe, Bookhouse Pub, H. Harper Station, Ormsby’s,  Parish, Rosebud, Star Bar, Local Three and Woodfire Grill. The hooch can also be found at many local spirits stores for about $30 a bottle. Looks like this duo, whose careers lies in the area of finance and real estate, can soon give up their day jobs for full-time mash-making.  

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