Mac’s Apple Pie: Missouri Moonshine in the Fall

[This is transcribed from an audio recording I made with Merlin, a friend from Missouri]

Me: So, Mac, you have quite a different recipe for Apple Pie than I did, from my mother, growing up, and I wanted you to give us a little education about it.

Mac: Well…Apple Pie means a lot of things to a lot of folks. However, in most cases, you are thinking of a dessert. Where I come from, Apple Pie means one thing and one thing only. Fall.

Me: Fall, like, Autumn?

Mac: Yeah, Like Autumn. You might be questioning why it is called Fall. Because Fall is the time of year that persons of a certain ilk would start…making…what we called Apple Pie.

Me: so you called it Fall of the Year, where you are from? We always called it Autumn, I guess.

Mac; Fall, fall or the year, whatever.

Me: Same as Autumn.

Mac: Yeah, we never used Autumn that terribly much. It was a time when you could smell leaves burning, and the harvests were going on, and things became available.

Me: What kind of things?

Mac: Well, the drink called Apple Pie. Now, when you say, drink…

Me: I said, what kind of things?

Mac: Well, that’s what apple harvests were, and fresh cider is one of the first things that you have to have in order to make it.

Me: Did you use fresh fall apples, or did you actually use the fresh fall cider that other people made?

Mac: You have to use cider.

Me: Did you make Cider sometimes?

Mac: No. There’s just too many apple farms and it’s too easy to get high quality Cider. For next to nothing, really. You could get a gallon of high quality apple cider for, and I mean really good stuff, for, approximately, uh, 2.50? So trying to make cider seemed a tad excessive.

Me: I have no idea how to make cider, but…

Mac: Oh, I know how to make it.

Me: Maybe next time we talk we’ll discuss that.

Mac: Requires a press. The best thing to have is a friend that has a still about.

Me: That’s helpful.

Mac: You had to have 2 quarts of what’s known as the heads.

Me: Heads? Like H-E-A-D-S?

Mac. Yeah; there is two different terms for heads. Now, when you run a still the very first part is also called the head, but you don’t want that, because that has all the impurities and the bad things.

Me: You’re confusing me.

Mac: Ok, there are two varieties of heads; heads are also the first jars that come off the still. After you’ve got rid of the poisons.

Me: You already haven’t gotten me through getting rid of the poisons and what the heads are.

Mac: Well, I guess I take it too simple.

Me: No, yeah, you sort of skipped the kinda critical bit.

Mac: Then we will separate this down for someone that has never touched a still.

Me: That’s what you want to do.

Mac: When you fire up the still, and it first starts coming to temperature, you’re going to have, depending on the size of the still, anything from a pint to a quart of stuff that is undrinkable. That you don’t want.

Me: But what are you putting in the still? All you said was that there was apple cider. Do you put it in straight?

Mac: Well, no. You don’t put the apple cider in the still.

Me: Ok, Ok, let’s backtrack. What do you put in the still?

Mac: You put mash in the still.

Me: What is the mash made of?

Mac: That I am not telling you.

Me: Now come on, hint, anyway.

Mac: Corn mash, sour mash, you know.

Me: So this mash has apple cider as an addition of apple for a flavor, like cinnamon in my mom’s apple pie?

Mac: Now wait, hold onto your shorts, we’ll get to that part. They’re going to know that you want pure white lightning. So what they did was throw the first few quarts pint off, as they called it, off because it’s toxic. That’s what gives you hangovers, headaches, and this causes the rumors of people going blind.

Then, the first two jars, first run, are going to be the strongest, and those are ones you want for making Apple Pie. So you take those two jars and you’ve got two quarts. You’re going to take your apple cider that you got before. You’re going to put that into a large pot. You’re going to heat that up. Now, you do not want to exceed 150 degrees, because if you exceed 150 degrees, because if you exceed 150 degrees when you add the alcohol, you’ll be losing alcohol. You’re going to add to that, once it heats up to around 120, and in that you’re going to dissolve

A cup of honey
• 2 tablespoons of cinnamon oil
• 2 tablespoons of Nutmeg

Stir it until everything is dissolved. Let that cool down to room temperature, and then you add the two quarts of shine that you saved. You stir that, you put it into quart jars, you throw a couple of cinnamon sticks in each jar, then you let that sit for a while.

And it tastes just like drinking a nice Dutch apple pie. The only problem with it is that too much of it and you will be on the floor.

Like, Fall on it.

Me: Gotcha! Thank you!

Mac: You’re welcome.

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T.N.Cheshire is a retired Chef with a background in sociology and business. She writes about food, humor and life all around us.

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