August is not my favorite month. The air is oppressive, humid, and overbearing. The sun follows me like a fire balloon, and time in the shade offers a poor respite from the sweat, thirst, and lethargy. This is not the month for a moonshine review, but like most Ohioans, I’m a smirking optimist so let’s give it a go.
I’m not that familiar with Ole Smoky: Tennessee Moonshine, but as far as spirits go, it checks off all the right boxes. Distilled in Tennessee? Check. Social media presence, with their website on the side of the jar? Check. Nice rustic aesthetic with the labeling? Check. And seeing how it’s a flavored moonshine, the folks in Gatlinburg made sure the hooch is a bright Jolly Rancher orange. Oh this’ll be fun.
Whenever I’ve sampled moonshines before, I tend to drink them neat – preferably chilled. But since it’s been 90 degrees Fahrenheit (or 32.2 degrees Celsius) for the past few weeks, I decided to take this orange flavor a bit further and mix it with ice, orange and grapefruit juices. The result: not bad. Admittedly, Ole Smoky Orange is more sweet than citrusy in flavor, but that’s okay. We’ve all had popsicles, right? Grape soda was never meant to taste like grapes and Cherry Coke mildly passes for anything remotely cherry in flavor.
The point is: if I were chillin’ at my friend’s back deck, grilling salmon or burgers, this would be an enjoyable anti-cocktail cocktail. Squeeze a wedge of lime if you feel guilty. It’s okay. Score: 3.7 out of 5 stars.
Oh, and look who else came to the party: Bacardi Black & Coco Blast Coconut Water. I’ve been to Key West, Jamaica, and Tulum Mexico in my travels and developed an affinity for rum. Going full Cuba Libre was never my bag. It seems sacrilegious to mix any spirit with Coca-Cola. So I’ve always preferred coconut water or pineapple juice as an alternate mixer. This is the Western Hemisphere, to each their own. Add Bacardi over ice and a splash of coconut water. Invite a friend over and listen to Marcos Valle’s song Estrelar. You’ll feel 10 times better.