Of course, many spirits now called “moonshine” are neither illegal nor untaxed. In modern parlance, moonshine tends to refer primarily to whiskies and whiskey-adjacent libations. Specifically, moonshine is “whiskey that has never seen the inside of a barrel. It’s whiskey in its purest form,” says head bartender Mariel Burns of Trademark Taste & Grind in New York City, who works with moonshine on a regular basis. For these reasons, “moonshine” is frequently referred to as “white whiskey.”
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