Sometimes things surprise you. Here’s a flavored moonshine, endorsed by a celebrity, and when the bottle arrived I was surprised to see it was only 50 proof. This is moonshine? As the writer of songs like “Just a Sip,” “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” and “Beer in the Headlights,” country singer Cole Swindell clearly has more than a passing interest in drinks, but would this ‘shine from Sugerlands sell without his name attached?
It comes in a typical tin-lidded jam-jar style bottle, which describes it as both moonshine and punch, reflecting its lower alcohol level. On the nose the overpowering scent is of almonds, though it’s more complex than that as there’s tart cherry there too, and the sweetness of tropical fruit, like mango.
The palate confirms that this isn’t something that has been thrown together quickly and sold cheaply, just to cash in on Swindell’s popularity. Those same flavors — almonds, cherry, mango — swirl around and create a new impression, one of strong, sweet peaches, and a touch of Frangelico-like hazelnut. The pleasing thing is that the taste is natural, not overloaded with the sickly sweetness of some flavored spirits.
It’s definitely a drink more for swallowing than sipping, with no nasty burning surprises on the throat, just a reinforcement of that initial almond-cherry combination. It’s certainly more punch than moonshine, but it needs treating with respect. Drinking it straight from the jar, as suggested, would be easy to do, but you’d know about it in the morning.