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Hootch, Anyone? For Adults only

The Hootch


How to make Apple Pie Moonshine


The Hootch - Apple Pie Moonshine
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The Fourth of July has long been my favorite day of the year. For over 30 years, on my Uncle’s street in Gardena, California, a block party takes place. The entire street is blocked off with permits issued from the city from morning until night. Most of the 20-plus houses on the street participate with food, music, games for the kids, relay races, group trivia and a general sense of relaxation. In other words, we just chill. The kids half finish about a thousand sodas and the adults, select adults, mind you, walk around with that red cup. Remember the red cup?


As a child, a thought rarely crosses the mind about the contents of the red cup. Most kids were satisfied with their lemon-lime sodas or tiki punch. I do recall as a kid, however, how happy the adults seemed to become the longer they had that red cup. The general volume increased, music and dance moved up on the priority chain, karaoke becomes must-see and there’s a lawn chair scramble for a good seat. Laughter, endless food, frivolity and the red cup, what more could be had on the fourth? Sadly, there was no party in 2020 and 2021 is in question given the rules about large gatherings, but, I have a red cup specialty that will make great holiday gifts as it needs a 3 to 6 month aging to smooth it out. The proper title is Apple Pie Moonshine, at the holiday parties, it’s known as The Hootch.


Years ago I was looking through recipes online and I found this by a woman named Tinklee for Apple Pie Moonshine. A simple mixture of apple ciders, juices, sugars, and spices combined with high volume alcohol and aged in a cool, dark place while it mellows to become a tasty, sipping drink that doesn’t have an alcohol taste, more like, yep, an apple pie. I’m not the world’s biggest drinker but I’ve found that a little shot in some tea makes a cold a much more pleasant experience. Not a cocktail, it’s meant to be sipped like an aperitif or an after dinner drink. The high alcohol content means that it sneaks up on you, so, be careful and responsible. 


The Hootch or Apple Pie Moonshine

adapted from Tinklee’s Apple Pie Moonshine


1/2 gallon (64fl oz) (1.89liters) pasteurized apple juice

1/2 gallon apple cider

1/2 cup (4oz) granulated sugar

1 cup (8oz) Dark Brown sugar

4 Cinnamon sticks 

2 whole Cloves

2 whole Allspice

Nutmeg, ground Ginger, a star anise, all to taste

Orange Peel

2 Tablespoons Boiled Cider (optional)

2 cups (16oz) 190 proof Everclear or puregrain or Moonshine or Vodka

1/4 cup (2oz) Fireball or cinnamon Whiskey

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


You’ll need:

A large stock pot (12 quart or larger)

A funnel

A ladle


Infrared thermometer 

Pint jars 



1. Add apple juice, cider, sugars, boiled cider, cinnamon sticks, orange peel, nutmeg, and any other aromatics to a good stock pot over medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugars and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Keeping it covered, take off the heat and let it cool down completely. 4 to 6 hours depending, but I just let mine sit overnight and continue next day. After 8 hours, it was still in the 90 degrees. Ideally, you want under 75 degrees.

3. Put one or two apple slices in each one pint jar. Add one cinnamon stick.

4. Add Everclear and Fireball, or your alcohol of choice. Add vanilla. Stir.

5. Remove aromatics with a strainer and fill jars with a funnel and cheesecloth or coffee filter. Seal with lids.

6. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 3 to 6 months. The difference is that it gets smoother and mellower with age.

Note: Everclear or grain alcohol is now legal in most states in the US. or most alcohol merchants will ship it to your address with proof of legal age ID required upon delivery. Please use it wisely and drink responsibly.



Goes great with the Cherry Stuff! The Best Dessert EVER!





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  1. Michele Lamar Richards says:

    Alright Chris, now you are going to make me drive across country to knock on your door with my empty red cup.
    What lovely memories your blog brings to mind.
    Thank you!

  2. Brian Ann says:

    OHhhhBoy that sounds good! You gave me a sipping jar a couple of years ago and it is a Legend that I remember. I’m a little fuzzy on the details but it was GOOD!
    Thank you!!!!

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