Chasing the White Dog: by Pete Mulvihill

Don’t forget: the books mentioned below are available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine

Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine
Max Watman (Simon & Schuster)

Last summer, I read a fun book by Max Watman: Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine. I’m surely not the only one who wonders why it’s OK to make your own beer, cheese, wine, or jam, but not liquor. The answer, and so much history, chemistry, adventure, tomfoolery, and even NASCAR, are within.

If you’re at all interested in moonshine, Southern culture, the feds, tax evasion, boutique liquors, or how to make your own hooch, I promise this book is interesting and fun.

And it piqued in me a curiosity, a yen for breaking the law by making my own hooch. I’m not sure it was more for the outlaw aspect or to brag about making my own likker, honestly.

Alas, like many cool things I wish I did, I have yet to try—between four-year-old twins, the dynamic book business, and my crowded, messy garage, I keep finding excuses not to.

But I want you to try. And to that end, here are four books on the shelves now at Green Apple that can help. Again, since I haven’t tried, I can’t say too much about each particular book. Come poke through them yourself.

Moonshine!: Recipes * Tall Tales * Drinking Songs * Historical Stuff * Knee-Slappers * How to Make It * How to Drink It * Pleasin’ the Law * Recoverin’ the Next Day

Moonshine!: Recipes * Tall Tales * Drinking Songs * Historical Stuff * Knee-Slappers * How to Make It * How to Drink It * Pleasin’ the Law * Recoverin’ the Next Day
Matthew Rowley (Lark Books)

First is a general introduction: Moonshine!: Recipes * Tall Tales * Drinking Songs * Historical Stuff * Knee-Slappers * How to Make It * How to Drink It * Pleasin’ the Law * Recoverin’ the Next Day by Matthew Rowley. The subtitle says it all—this is really entertaining, almost like a coffee table book, though there is also practical information therein.

Moonshiners Manual

Moonshiners Manual
Michael Barleycorn (White Mule Press)

Next up is Moonshiners Manual by Michael Barleycorn (yea right). This is a reprint of an underground book first printed in 1975. It’s written more to the underground and rural population of the 1970s, but it has its charms.

Modern Moonshine Techniques

Modern Moonshine Techniques
Bill Owens (White Mule Press)

The modern update is probably Modern Moonshine Techniques by Bill Owens. Mr. Owens is featured prominently in Max Watman’s Chasing the White Dog, holds workshops on distilling, and is something of a leader of modern distillers. (He’s also a highly respected photographer whose 1973 book Suburbia is a classic.) This is probably the most practical book on this list.

The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible

The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible
Leon W. Kania (Happy Mountain Publications)

And rounding out our DIY hooch section is The Alaskan Bootlegger’s Bible by Leon Kania. This is a much broader book than the others, with recipes and instructions for a wide variety of alcoholic beverages. Clearly written and laid out, this looks pretty helpful.

If anyone actually follows through, I’d love to try a jar of whatever you make. Maybe you’ll inspire me to finally get started. And won’t my wife be happy then?

Thanks for reading.